The symptoms are variable from one moment and from one environment to another. The cyclothymic person can live depressive affects one day and be in great shape the next day.
In the DSM-5 (Classification Manual of Mental Illnesses) cyclothymia is defined by the association of these different points:
- The alternation of symptoms of hypomania - very excited and dynamic mood - depressive symptoms - sadness and discouragement - and neutral mood.
- There is no depressive syndrome, that is to say that the depressive phases last less than two weeks. There is also no manic syndrome, that is to say, great excitement of mood and oversized projects for more than a week.
- These symptoms last more than 2 years (or 1 year for children and adolescents) and the person has not experienced a period without symptoms for more than 2 months.
- These symptoms lead to suffering or difficulties in relationships, work, family, etc.
It can be said that the cyclothymic person is a hypersensitive person, as much to the internal stimulations (state of tiredness, etc.) as external, which less controls his emotions than most people. And who says less control of emotions, says less control of behavior. These can be surprising or even worrying for loved ones. However, this does not necessarily mean that the cyclothymic person is fundamentally unstable.
It is important to differentiate a borderline personality disorder from a cyclothymia. They can however be associated. While the borderline personality is characterized by an identity disorder involving deep (sometimes delirious) anxieties, cyclothymia is defined by the fluctuations of moods. It can be associated with anxiety but without the identity structure being altered.
Another diagnosis sometimes associated, but whose criteria differ: the ADHD or the high intellectual potential. In AD / HD, there is an attention deficit that involves a difficulty in managing emotions. In the high-intellectual potential (HPI) there is a hypersensitivity that can cause mood swings and difficulty in managing emotions. However, whether for HPI or for ADHD, the symptoms of cyclothymia are not necessarily present.
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