Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis Diagnostic Criteria for Cyclothymic Disorder By Marcia Purse Marcia Purse Marcia Purse is a mental health writer and bipolar disorder advocate who brings strong research skills and personal experiences to her writing. Learn about our editorial process Updated on January 23, 2020 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Steven Gans, MD Medically reviewed by Steven Gans, MD Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Marcel ter Bekke / Getty Images Cyclothymia, or cyclothymic disorder, is a condition that involves moods cycling between hypomania and depression. Though milder than bipolar disorder, cyclothymia is sometimes a precursor for bipolar I or II disorder. How Cyclothymic Disorder Is Diagnosed Criterion A from the Diagnostic and Statistical Handbook of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) defines cyclomania as: “For at least two years (at least one year in children and adolescents) there have been numerous periods with hypomanic symptoms that do not meet criteria for a hypomanic episode and numerous periods with depressive symptoms that do not meet criteria for a major depressive episode." Additional criteria for cyclothymic disorder in the DSM-5 are: B. During the above two-year period (one year in children and adolescents), the hypomanic and depressive periods have been present for at least half the time and the individual has not been without the symptoms for more than two months at a time. C. Criteria for a major depressive, manic, or hypomanic episode have never been met. [If such episodes appear later, the diagnosis would be changed to bipolar I or bipolar II disorder, as appropriate.] D. The symptoms aren’t better explained by another mental disorder. E. The symptoms aren’t caused by a substance (i.e., medication or drug of abuse) or another medical condition. F. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. The specifier “with anxious distress” may be added to a diagnosis of cyclothymic disorder where anxiety is a significant factor. Other Considerations Cyclothymic disorder usually first appears in adolescents and young adults, and there’s a 15-50% risk that such an individual will develop full-fledged bipolar I or II disorder later. A genetic component has been found that increases the risk of developing cyclothymia, especially in first-degree relatives of individuals having mood disorders. Changes in the DSM-5 for Bipolar Disorder 1 Source Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Baldessarini RJ, Vázquez G, Tondo L. Treatment of cyclothymic disorder: commentary. Psychother Psychosom. 2011;80(3):131-5. doi: 10.1159/000322234 Additional Reading Diagnostic and Statistical Handbook of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). American Psychiatric Association; 2013. By Marcia Purse Marcia Purse is a mental health writer and bipolar disorder advocate who brings strong research skills and personal experiences to her writing. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist Online Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.