Qu'est-ce que la cyclothymie ?

What is cyclothymia?

Aug 11, 2023


Cyclothymia is a mood disorder in which a person experiences periods of mild depressive symptoms followed by periods of mild mania.

Cyclothymia is similar to bipolar I and II disorders. However, in the case of cyclothymia, the mood fluctuations are less intense.

This article explores the symptoms of cyclothymia and explains how it differs from bipolar I and II disorders. It also provides information on diagnosis and treatment, as well as advice on how to get support.


Cyclothymia is a type of bipolar mood disorder, to which affected individuals are very sensitive to stress and anxiety .

These disorders cause periods of depressive symptoms that alternate with periods of mania, during which the person experiences increased excitement, euphoria, or hyperactivity, as well as agitation.

Cyclothymia causes a less intense form of mania called hypomania. Possible characteristics of hypomania include:

an increase in self-esteem
increased happiness
a greater desire to approach others to chat
a commotion
racing thoughts and ideas
sleep problems
an increase in risky behavior

Depressive symptoms of cyclothymia may include:

a lack of energy
a loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities
a feeling of worthlessness
difficulty concentrating
changes in eating habits
A person with cyclothymia tends to oscillate between hypomania and depression. During this cycle, there may be periods when the person feels like their mood is stable.

Risk factors

The risk factors for cyclothymia are similar to those for other bipolar mood disorders:

  • a genetic predisposition to the disease
  • environmental triggers, such as negative life events or negative thought patterns
  • certain medications such as antidepressants that can cause a manic shift or hypomania.


A doctor or psychiatrist will use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to determine whether or not a person has cyclothymia.

The DSM-5 is a work that provides detailed information on various mental disorders and their symptoms.

According to the DSM-5, a person must meet the following criteria to be diagnosed with cyclothymia:

  • The person has had hypomanic symptoms and depressive symptoms for at least two consecutive years (or for one year in children and adolescents).
  • Symptoms were present for at least half of the 2-year period (or 1 year in children and adolescents). During this period, the person must not have been free of symptoms for more than two months in a row.
  • The person has no prior diagnosis of manic, hypomanic, or depressive episodes.
  • The symptoms are not due to a psychotic disorder, such as schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.
  • The symptoms are not due to substance use or a medical condition.
  • The symptoms cause distress to the person and affect their daily life.

Bipolar disorder is an umbrella term that includes the following mood disorders:

  • bipolarity I
  • bipolar II
  • cyclothymia

The main difference between these disorders is the intensity of the mood changes . However, there are also subtle differences in the symptoms of each condition.


The sections below list some medications that a doctor or psychiatrist may prescribe to help treat cyclothymia.

Mood stabilizers
The goal of mood stabilizers is to help balance a person's mood.

A person with cyclothymia may need a mood stabilizer, lithium. People who have been diagnosed with bipolar I or II disorder may also receive this medication.

A doctor or psychiatrist may also prescribe anti-epileptic medications, such as oxcarbazepine. These medications may also act as mood stabilizers.

According to a 2017 Trusted Source review, the evidence for the effectiveness of antidepressants as a treatment option for cyclothymia is mixed.

A person who takes antidepressants to treat cyclothymia may need careful monitoring to ensure they do not experience an increase in hypomania symptoms.

In addition to medication, it is likely that a person suffering from cyclothymia will need some form of psychotherapy. The sections below describe some types of psychotherapy in more detail.

Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talking therapy that helps change negative thought and behavior patterns. An old 2012 study from Trusted Source suggests that CBT may help people with cyclothymia better control their moods.

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