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Cyclothymia? Diagnosis? Treatment?

Sea_Green

Sea_Green

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After years of thinking there was something wrong with my moods yet feeling misunderstood or simply dismissed by the GP I read about cyclothymia. There have been a few occasions where I've had an appointment with a doctor or crisis team but by the time I got there my mood had changed and I just ended up looking stupid! I've realised that I follow a pattern of seeking help when I'm really bad then deciding I'm totally fine and don't need help when my mood improves.

Is cyclothymia diagnosed much in the UK? Is it worth asking about a diagnosis? Are there any treatments that fit in well with a rapidly changing moods? It seems like all mental health revolves round feeling a certain way for long periods of time. Not sure I should even be wasting their time now with the virus anyway.
 
Tawny

Tawny

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It is diagnosed and people can take mood stabilisers to help with it as sometimes the swings can worsen. Once you have had a major episode of depression or mania, you would then have bipolar disorder. Dysthymia is the diagnosis where people have recurring mild depression only.

The NHS website is very good and we can trust what is written more than many other websites.

The most important thing would be to keep a mood chart. From memory, Cyclothymia involves mood changes every 6 weeks, but you would have to check that.

Mood charts would help you understand what is happening and also help your psychiatrist.

Sometimes we can wake up relaxed and become higher as the day goes on
Sometimes we can wake up exhausted and very low, and feel better as the day goes on

Usually though, you would have a repeat of similar days for weeks or months at a time.

There are other mental illnesses where a person can have unstable moods and it can also be a sign of an illness developing. I think it would be a good idea to have a physical health check though as if you are female, we have hormones to deal with, also thyroid, poor diet, deficiencies, can all cause problems with mood and energy.

I will get your some good links.
 
Tawny

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This scale is very good




 
Sea_Green

Sea_Green

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Thanks for the info. I seem to change too rapidly for the descriptions. I could switch between terrible and pretty good multiple times in a week. I guess the best thing to do would be to keep a mood diary to show the doctor. I'll try to remember to ask about diet and hormones too if I make an appointment.
 
Sea_Green

Sea_Green

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Sorry, couldn't see how to edit my previous post. Just wanted to add that I know it's pointless trying to diagnose myself but having some idea will hopefully make me more confident talking to the doctor. I've looked at borderline but don't fit a lot of that criteria. I've also found ultradian cycling or ultra-ultra-rapid cycling bipolar. I don't think it's an official thing though, does anyone here have it? This quote I found might make sense of why I struggle so much with CBT:

"Rapid cycling variants of bipolar disorder can be harder to treat than standard bipolar disorder which has moods that last for months. This makes sense because if your mood lasts for months you really have a chance to get a handle on it and treat that specific mood. In other words, you know if you need to work things up or down because of where the mood is. If your mood is always shifting, you don’t need “up” or “down” you need level. That is much harder to target."

Don't think I've ever had proper mania though. Gah it's so confusing! Thanks to anyone who has read my thread even if you have nothing to add. :)
 
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Fairygarden53

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After years of thinking there was something wrong with my moods yet feeling misunderstood or simply dismissed by the GP I read about cyclothymia. There have been a few occasions where I've had an appointment with a doctor or crisis team but by the time I got there my mood had changed and I just ended up looking stupid! I've realised that I follow a pattern of seeking help when I'm really bad then deciding I'm totally fine and don't need help when my mood improves.

Is cyclothymia diagnosed much in the UK? Is it worth asking about a diagnosis? Are there any treatments that fit in well with a rapidly changing moods? It seems like all mental health revolves round feeling a certain way for long periods of time. Not sure I should even be wasting their time now with the virus anyway.
Sea green
I totally understand what you are saying. I have mood swings, in fact I have for years but they are on a cycle. Not long ago I was really low and phoned my doctor for help. He rang me back. After our conversation he told me he isn't trained in mental health which I understood, but he referred me to a mental health team. They gave me a phone appointment. I really didn't want to speak on the day as I felt like rubbish but my husband helped me. The consultation was supposed to be an hour. 45 minutes in we were done. The nurse said, sorry but I'm not qualified to diagnose you but in my opinion you have Borderline Personality Disorder. When I read up on it I couldn't believe it, this isn't me! I had told her I'd been searching for answers for so long and came across Cyclothymia...wow, that's totally me. Because our moods are up and down and we do have times when our heads don't feel mental it doesn't mean it's gone away. I feel that I'm fine sometimes and am so grateful for those days but I now realise that there will be another fall. Don't ever think you're putting on anyone. Get that help because you need it. Good luck!
 
Wishbone

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The mood diary is definitely the way to go in getting answers for yourself and any doc you deal with, but you have to be honest with yourself about what you're feeling: is it really the worst feeling ever that you're currently experiencing or actually, are you just kinda making a bit of a mountain out of a molehill? Are you really feeling great, as in, you feel content and happy and motivated, or are you thinking or doing odd things as well? And so on. Mood disorders aren't just happy/sad, there are usually other deal makers and breakers.

You made a comment about not matching up with one other disorder and I'd just warn you off of approaching it from that angle. Think of it more as being not about which ones don't match, but more so about a certain number of ones that do.

And the rapid cycling thing is real, but you're talking about a huge amount of life disruption with even the 'standard' type. Are you able to hold down a job or study? Are you able to maintain relationships etc?
 
Sea_Green

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Sea green
I totally understand what you are saying. Good luck!
Thanks Fairygarden53!
And the rapid cycling thing is real, but you're talking about a huge amount of life disruption with even the 'standard' type. Are you able to hold down a job or study? Are you able to maintain relationships etc?
Relationship yes, job and study not so much. I've actually spoken to the doctor since posting this and he was going to send me for a bipolar assessment. Unfortunately I was expecting a letter for a face-to-face appointment but he decided to phone me to check how I was doing first so I panicked and cancelled it.
 
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Fairygarden53

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The mood diary is definitely the way to go in getting answers for yourself and any doc you deal with, but you have to be honest with yourself about what you're feeling: is it really the worst feeling ever that you're currently experiencing or actually, are you just kinda making a bit of a mountain out of a molehill? Are you really feeling great, as in, you feel content and happy and motivated, or are you thinking or doing odd things as well? And so on. Mood disorders aren't just happy/sad, there are usually other deal makers and breakers.

You made a comment about not matching up with one other disorder and I'd just warn you off of approaching it from that angle. Think of it more as being not about which ones don't match, but more so about a certain number of ones that do.

And the rapid cycling thing is real, but you're talking about a huge amount of life disruption with even the 'standard' type. Are you able to hold down a job or study? Are you able to maintain relationships etc?
Wishbone...thank you so much for your reply. That's very kind of you. I understand about bipolar 1 because my brother was diagnosed with it after having 1 full blown episode of grandiose...he is medicated with lithium now. A 1st cousin I believe has been diagnosed with cyclothymia just over a year ago. I have been with my husband nearly 16 years and have 5 daughters, a step daughter, 2 step sons and 18 grandchildren, my mum and other family members which I have wonderful relationships with. I'm not a disruptive, dysfunctional person, in fact I'm a very loving, caring person with maybe too much empathy. So relationships are great. I have stress and anxiety, OCD, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis but for years now I've known something else is going on. 0-10 I'm 6 and below even though my life is happy. I can wake up on a real low, sometimes feeling suicidal and I have to go with it and usually about 4 hours later my head has changed to a more normal level and then my head can change to feeling overly happy and chatty and then there are times are don't want to talk to anyone, even a phone call being too much to deal with. It's so hard to explain everything but I definitely mood cycle. I find it hard to make plans because I never know how I'm going to feel and sometimes I just want total quiet and when people talk at these times it makes me angry because I want to just be left alone to be quiet. My husband is so understanding and a massive help.
 
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Fairygarden53

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Wishbone...my moods aren't rapidly changing. It usually is like a few hours and then I change. My energy levels are not great but there are days where I feel more able to do a little something. My head is always busy, hardly ever quiet. I worry about what ifs constantly. As for learning and working. It's enough for me to try healing myself every day with my mental health and other ailments to add them to my list too.
 
Wishbone

Wishbone

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Relationship yes, job and study not so much. I've actually spoken to the doctor since posting this and he was going to send me for a bipolar assessment. Unfortunately I was expecting a letter for a face-to-face appointment but he decided to phone me to check how I was doing first so I panicked and cancelled it.
Well it's never too late, maybe try phoning the doc explaining exactly what you just said about panicking and ask if you can still be put forward for the assessment.
 

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