Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Your doctor or other health care provider must determine if you have cyclothymia, bipolar I or II disorder, depression, or another condition that may be causing your symptoms. To help pinpoint a diagnosis for your symptoms, you'll likely have several exams and tests, which generally include:

  • Physical exam. A physical exam and lab tests may be done to help identify any medical problems that could be causing your symptoms.
  • Psychological evaluation. A doctor or mental health provider will talk to you about your thoughts, feelings and behavior patterns. You may also fill out a psychological self-assessment or questionnaire. With your permission, family members or close friends may be asked to provide information about your symptoms, such as possible hypomanic or depressive symptoms.
  • Mood charting. To identify what's going on, your doctor may have you keep a daily record of your moods, sleep patterns or other factors that could help with diagnosis and finding the right treatment.

Diagnostic criteria

For a diagnosis of cyclothymia, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, lists these points:

  • You've had many periods of elevated mood (hypomanic symptoms) and periods of depressive symptoms for at least two years (one year for children and teenagers) — with these highs and lows occurring during at least half that time.
  • Periods of stable moods usually last less than two months.
  • Your symptoms significantly affect you socially, at work, at school or in other important areas.
  • Your symptoms don't meet the criteria for bipolar disorder, major depression or another mental disorder.
  • Your symptoms aren't caused by substance use or a medical condition.
June 04, 2015