Cyclothymia requires lifelong treatment — even during periods when you feel better — usually guided by a mental health provider skilled in treating the condition. To treat cyclothymia, your doctor or mental health provider aims to:
- Decrease your risk of bipolar I or II disorder, because cyclothymia carries a high risk of developing into bipolar disorder
- Reduce the frequency and severity of your symptoms, allowing you to live a more balanced and enjoyable life
- Prevent a relapse of symptoms, through continued treatment during periods of remission (maintenance treatment)
- Treat alcohol or other substance use problems, since they can worsen cyclothymia symptoms
The main treatments for cyclothymia are medications and psychotherapy.
No medications are approved by the Food and Drug Administration specifically for cyclothymia, but your doctor may prescribe medications used to treat bipolar disorder. These medications may help control cyclothymia symptoms and prevent periods of hypomanic and depressive symptoms.
Psychotherapy, also called psychological counseling or talk therapy, is a vital part of cyclothymia treatment and can be provided in individual, family or group settings. Several types of therapy may be helpful, such as:
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- Cognitive behavioral therapy. A common treatment for cyclothymia, the focus of cognitive behavioral therapy is to identify unhealthy, negative beliefs and behaviors and replace them with healthy, positive ones. It can help identify what triggers your symptoms. You also learn effective strategies to manage stress and cope with upsetting situations.
- Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT). IPSRT focuses on the stabilization of daily rhythms, such as sleep, wake and mealtimes. A consistent routine allows for better mood management. People with mood disorders may benefit from establishing a daily routine for sleep, diet and exercise.
- Other therapies. Other therapies have been studied with some evidence of success. Ask your doctor if any other options may be appropriate for you.
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