Am I Cyclothymic?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

So I’m not positive, but I think I may be cyclothymic. I tend to “cycle” through moods as the disease is described, only i don’t have long periods of mild mania or depression. It tends to be a short period of calm, good self-esteem, and just generally feeling good and then I slowly decline, feeling steadily worse about myself and life in general until hitting rock bottom hard with some sort of panic attack or internal crisis, and then I usually feel better immediately and go back into the happy phase of the cycle. The length of these cycles vary, but the pattern is almost always the same. Is this normal, or could it be cyclothymia?

A:. At 15, your body is going through dramatic changes. I therefore think your first stop is to your doctor for a complete checkup. Sometimes what you are describing is part of the body adjusting itself during adolescence. Sometimes there is a vitamin deficiency or something like a thyroid disorder contributing to the problem. I also hope you are getting adequate sleep. Sleep disorders can also cause the issues you describe.

If you check out okay physically, then it wouldn’t hurt to talk to a counselor. The Internet is a wonderful thing. Sometimes it helps people get a diagnosis and treatment early. But sometimes reading it makes people unnecessarily anxious about the possibility of having a disorder.

A trained counselor will be able to help you sort it out and decide if you are going through the very normal ups and downs of adolescence or if something else is going on. Either way, some therapy sessions might be helpful. Just because emotional instability is normal during the teen years doesn’t make it comfortable. It might be helpful to learn some new way to manage it.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 May 2013

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2013). Am I Cyclothymic?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/05/13/am-i-cyclothymic/

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