Cyclothymia is an atypical form of depression. Individuals suffering from this disorder go through periods of mild depression to short periods of hypomania (high energy). Cyclothymia is a mild form of bipolar disorder and could last from a few days to a few weeks. People who suffer from cyclothymia or bipolar disorder rarely go more than a couple of months without either periods of sadness or hypomania. Cyclothymia can completely disrupt a person’s life creating personal turmoil.
Genetic factors have been linked to the cause of cyclothymia. Many people affected by cyclothymia have a family history of major depression, bipolar disorder, suicide, or an addictive personality. The onset of this condition may be between the late teens and through the twenty’s. This condition could, cease temporarily or permanently, or develop into more severe mood swings like that of bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder affects more than 2 million American adults (18+) or 1% of the U.S adult population.
Mild depression can sometimes be treated with therapy alone. For slightly severe cases of depression and hypomania, lithium may be prescribed; however, there are certain adverse side effects (loss of bladder control, increased thirst, nausea, etc.) related to this form of treatment. Many people choose alternative therapies, which include meditation and relaxation, exercise, acupuncture, and herbal agents, such as St. John’s Wort.