Cyclothymia symptoms are characterized by an alternating pattern of emotional highs and lows. The highs of cyclothymia are called hypomania, a milder form of mania. The lows consist of mild or moderate depression. And with cyclothymia, you don’t lose contact with reality, as you might with bipolar disorder.
The symptoms of cyclothymia are generally similar to those of bipolar disorder, but they’re less severe and episodes don’t last as long.
Hypomanic phase of cyclothymic disorder
Signs and symptoms of hypomanic episodes of cyclothymia may include:
- Unusually good mood or cheerfulness (euphoria)
- Extreme optimism
- Inflated self-esteem
- Poor judgment
- Rapid speech
- Racing thoughts
- Aggressive or hostile behavior
- Being inconsiderate of others
- Increased physical activity
- Risky behavior
- Spending sprees
- Increased drive to perform or achieve goals
- Increased sexual drive
- Decreased need for sleep
- Tendency to be easily distracted
- Inability to concentrate
Depressive phase of cyclothymic disorder
Signs and symptoms of depressive episodes of cyclothymia may include:
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
- Sleep problems
- Appetite problems
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Problems concentrating
- Chronic pain without a known cause
When you have cyclothymia, you can typically function in your daily life, although not always well. The unpredictable nature of mood shifts can significantly disrupt your life because you never know how you’re going to feel, and you can’t just will yourself to live life on an even keel.
Sometimes you may have periods where you feel both hypomania and depression, called mixed episodes. At times, you may be extravagant, showering people with gifts. Other times, you may engage in senseless arguments. Or you may feel so down that you consider suicide.