Helping a Loved One or Friend Who Has Cyclothymic Disorder

Reviewed Mar 1, 2017

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Summary

  • People who have cyclothymic disorder may seem moody and find their own symptoms mild.
  • It is important to remind people with cyclothymic disorder to stick to healthy habits to improve symptoms.

Cyclothymic disorder is a relatively rare mood disorder. It is sometimes called cyclothymia. Cyclothymic disorder is a mild form of bipolar disorder. It is marked by mood swings between emotional highs and lows. These mood swings can span years. Some people initially diagnosed with cyclothymic disorder go on to develop or are later diagnosed with bipolar I disorder or bipolar II disorder.

With this disorder, people may feel fine between the highs and the lows. The high, called hypomania, may even feel good. This phase involves high activity or energy. It may also involve feelings of great happiness for no reason and strong self-confidence.

Even though the highs may not seem severe, they can still cause distress:

  • At work and school
  • In relationships
  • At home
  • Socially

If you are caring for someone who has a bipolar disorder, you may find it hard. People who have it may not feel at their best or seem in control. But this type of condition is treatable. And the right mix of treatment options can greatly improve quality of life.

Coping as a caregiver

If you love or care for someone who has this type of disorder or another mental health condition, you are not alone. Tens of millions of people in the U.S. have a mental health condition. Countless more play a role in giving care. Even with good treatments, caregivers are a huge part of the support system. In turn, the people who provide care need support.

Sometimes, the best support is in the form of couples or family therapy. This type of therapy can help solve problems caused by the mood disorder. Support groups can also be very helpful.

Other times, rapid help is needed. The National Alliance on Mental Illness provides helpful information and resources for grave issues such as arrest or a missing person. Even if symptoms are mild, it can help to know where to turn just in case.

Communication tips

Caregivers should know that people with this disorder may start and stop treatment based on symptoms. If the highs or lows feel mild, someone may choose to stop. Or they may avoid medicine altogether. At times, talk therapy alone will be the best choice. Other times, it will take a mix of therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes to find relief. The important thing is that the treatment is guided by a doctor.

As a friend, loved one, or caregiver, there are some helpful tips you can offer:

  • Stay in touch with the doctor. Remind your loved one to keep working with a doctor to find the right treatment. If you notice changes in mood swings or the person finds that symptoms do not ease up, talk about setting up an appointment.
  • Keep healthy habits in mind. Talk about the importance of getting good sleep, exercising, and eating well. All of these steps can help someone feel better.
  • Set up a routine. Check in to see if your loved one needs help establishing and keeping a regular daily routine. Remind him that a regular routine can help keep mood stable.
  • Avoid using drugs or alcohol. Encourage your loved one to skip caffeine, alcohol, and drugs.

Resources

Mental Health America
www.mentalhealthamerica.net/finding-help
(800) 273-TALK

National Alliance on Mental Illness
www.nami.org/Find-Support
(800) 950-NAMI

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
www.dbsalliance.org
(800) 273-TALK
Support group locator: www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=peer_support_group_locator

By Sarah Stone
Source: American Psychiatric Association. (2015) Understanding Mental Disorders: Your Guide to DSM-5; U.S. National Library of Medicine, Cyclothymic Disorder, www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001550.htm; National Alliance on Mental Illness, www.nami.org/Find-Support/Family-Members-and-Caregivers; Mayo Clinic, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cyclothymia/basics/definition/con-20028763
Reviewed by Gary R. Proctor, MD Associate CMO, Operations, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • People who have cyclothymic disorder may seem moody and find their own symptoms mild.
  • It is important to remind people with cyclothymic disorder to stick to healthy habits to improve symptoms.

Cyclothymic disorder is a relatively rare mood disorder. It is sometimes called cyclothymia. Cyclothymic disorder is a mild form of bipolar disorder. It is marked by mood swings between emotional highs and lows. These mood swings can span years. Some people initially diagnosed with cyclothymic disorder go on to develop or are later diagnosed with bipolar I disorder or bipolar II disorder.

With this disorder, people may feel fine between the highs and the lows. The high, called hypomania, may even feel good. This phase involves high activity or energy. It may also involve feelings of great happiness for no reason and strong self-confidence.

Even though the highs may not seem severe, they can still cause distress:

  • At work and school
  • In relationships
  • At home
  • Socially

If you are caring for someone who has a bipolar disorder, you may find it hard. People who have it may not feel at their best or seem in control. But this type of condition is treatable. And the right mix of treatment options can greatly improve quality of life.

Coping as a caregiver

If you love or care for someone who has this type of disorder or another mental health condition, you are not alone. Tens of millions of people in the U.S. have a mental health condition. Countless more play a role in giving care. Even with good treatments, caregivers are a huge part of the support system. In turn, the people who provide care need support.

Sometimes, the best support is in the form of couples or family therapy. This type of therapy can help solve problems caused by the mood disorder. Support groups can also be very helpful.

Other times, rapid help is needed. The National Alliance on Mental Illness provides helpful information and resources for grave issues such as arrest or a missing person. Even if symptoms are mild, it can help to know where to turn just in case.

Communication tips

Caregivers should know that people with this disorder may start and stop treatment based on symptoms. If the highs or lows feel mild, someone may choose to stop. Or they may avoid medicine altogether. At times, talk therapy alone will be the best choice. Other times, it will take a mix of therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes to find relief. The important thing is that the treatment is guided by a doctor.

As a friend, loved one, or caregiver, there are some helpful tips you can offer:

  • Stay in touch with the doctor. Remind your loved one to keep working with a doctor to find the right treatment. If you notice changes in mood swings or the person finds that symptoms do not ease up, talk about setting up an appointment.
  • Keep healthy habits in mind. Talk about the importance of getting good sleep, exercising, and eating well. All of these steps can help someone feel better.
  • Set up a routine. Check in to see if your loved one needs help establishing and keeping a regular daily routine. Remind him that a regular routine can help keep mood stable.
  • Avoid using drugs or alcohol. Encourage your loved one to skip caffeine, alcohol, and drugs.

Resources

Mental Health America
www.mentalhealthamerica.net/finding-help
(800) 273-TALK

National Alliance on Mental Illness
www.nami.org/Find-Support
(800) 950-NAMI

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
www.dbsalliance.org
(800) 273-TALK
Support group locator: www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=peer_support_group_locator

By Sarah Stone
Source: American Psychiatric Association. (2015) Understanding Mental Disorders: Your Guide to DSM-5; U.S. National Library of Medicine, Cyclothymic Disorder, www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001550.htm; National Alliance on Mental Illness, www.nami.org/Find-Support/Family-Members-and-Caregivers; Mayo Clinic, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cyclothymia/basics/definition/con-20028763
Reviewed by Gary R. Proctor, MD Associate CMO, Operations, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • People who have cyclothymic disorder may seem moody and find their own symptoms mild.
  • It is important to remind people with cyclothymic disorder to stick to healthy habits to improve symptoms.

Cyclothymic disorder is a relatively rare mood disorder. It is sometimes called cyclothymia. Cyclothymic disorder is a mild form of bipolar disorder. It is marked by mood swings between emotional highs and lows. These mood swings can span years. Some people initially diagnosed with cyclothymic disorder go on to develop or are later diagnosed with bipolar I disorder or bipolar II disorder.

With this disorder, people may feel fine between the highs and the lows. The high, called hypomania, may even feel good. This phase involves high activity or energy. It may also involve feelings of great happiness for no reason and strong self-confidence.

Even though the highs may not seem severe, they can still cause distress:

  • At work and school
  • In relationships
  • At home
  • Socially

If you are caring for someone who has a bipolar disorder, you may find it hard. People who have it may not feel at their best or seem in control. But this type of condition is treatable. And the right mix of treatment options can greatly improve quality of life.

Coping as a caregiver

If you love or care for someone who has this type of disorder or another mental health condition, you are not alone. Tens of millions of people in the U.S. have a mental health condition. Countless more play a role in giving care. Even with good treatments, caregivers are a huge part of the support system. In turn, the people who provide care need support.

Sometimes, the best support is in the form of couples or family therapy. This type of therapy can help solve problems caused by the mood disorder. Support groups can also be very helpful.

Other times, rapid help is needed. The National Alliance on Mental Illness provides helpful information and resources for grave issues such as arrest or a missing person. Even if symptoms are mild, it can help to know where to turn just in case.

Communication tips

Caregivers should know that people with this disorder may start and stop treatment based on symptoms. If the highs or lows feel mild, someone may choose to stop. Or they may avoid medicine altogether. At times, talk therapy alone will be the best choice. Other times, it will take a mix of therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes to find relief. The important thing is that the treatment is guided by a doctor.

As a friend, loved one, or caregiver, there are some helpful tips you can offer:

  • Stay in touch with the doctor. Remind your loved one to keep working with a doctor to find the right treatment. If you notice changes in mood swings or the person finds that symptoms do not ease up, talk about setting up an appointment.
  • Keep healthy habits in mind. Talk about the importance of getting good sleep, exercising, and eating well. All of these steps can help someone feel better.
  • Set up a routine. Check in to see if your loved one needs help establishing and keeping a regular daily routine. Remind him that a regular routine can help keep mood stable.
  • Avoid using drugs or alcohol. Encourage your loved one to skip caffeine, alcohol, and drugs.

Resources

Mental Health America
www.mentalhealthamerica.net/finding-help
(800) 273-TALK

National Alliance on Mental Illness
www.nami.org/Find-Support
(800) 950-NAMI

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
www.dbsalliance.org
(800) 273-TALK
Support group locator: www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=peer_support_group_locator

By Sarah Stone
Source: American Psychiatric Association. (2015) Understanding Mental Disorders: Your Guide to DSM-5; U.S. National Library of Medicine, Cyclothymic Disorder, www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001550.htm; National Alliance on Mental Illness, www.nami.org/Find-Support/Family-Members-and-Caregivers; Mayo Clinic, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cyclothymia/basics/definition/con-20028763
Reviewed by Gary R. Proctor, MD Associate CMO, Operations, Beacon Health Options

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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