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"I have learned that people will forget what you said; people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

--Maya Angelou

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Cyclothymic Disorder

The diagnostic criteria for Cyclothymic Disorder includes the following:

  • For at least 2 years, the presence of numerous periods with hypomanic symptoms (see Criteria for Hypomanic Episode) and numerous periods with depressive symptoms that do not meet criteria for a Major Depressive Episode. Note: In children and adolescents, the duration must be at least 1 year.

  • During the above 2-year period (1 year in children and adolescents), the person has not been without the symptoms in Criterion A for more than 2 months at a time.

  • No Major Depressive Episode (Criteria for Major Depressive Episode), Manic Episode (Criteria for Manic Episode), or Mixed Episode (see Criteria for Mixed Episode) has been present during the first 2 years of the disturbance.

  • The symptoms in Criterion A are not better accounted for by Schizoaffective Disorder and are not superimposed on Schizophrenia, Schizophreniform Disorder, Delusional Disorder, or Psychotic Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.

  • The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., hyperthyroidism).

  • The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

    Associated Features

    Substance-Related Disorders and Sleep Disorders (i.e., difficulties in initiating and maintaining sleep) may be present.


      Cyclothymic Disorder usually begins in adolescence or early adult life. Onset of Cyclothymic Disorder late in adult life may suggest a Mood Disorder Due to a General Medical Condition such as multiple sclerosis. Cyclothymic Disorder usually has an insidious onset and a chronic course. There is a 15%50% risk that the person will subsequently develop Bipolar I or II Disorder.

        Diagnostic criteria summarized from:

        American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

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