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Re: Cyclothymia & mood stabilizers

Posted by Sean on August 7, 1999, at 13:51:22

In reply to Cyclothymia & mood stabilizers, posted by andrewb on August 7, 1999, at 10:33:51

> Does anybody have experience with medicating or counseling for soft cycling? I have some cycling going on that may or may not fit the definition for cyclothymia.
> The cycles usually last from 6 days to two weeks. In the down portion of the cycle symptoms include lower physical energy, lower mood, increased sensitivity to pain (esp. neck aches) increased social anxiety and sleeping more. In the up portion of the cycle I sleep less; I have good mood with occassional euphoria; good energy and at times ‘crazy’ energy; a sometimes flighty, overactivated mind; and a more talkative, outgoing manner.
> I’m curious if anyone has experience with taking a mood stabilizer for soft cycling, for example, valproate, lithium or gabapentin? Is the mood stabilizer taken at a lower dosage than it would be taken for a manic depressive condition? How long would it take for a mood stabilizer like gabapentin to become fully effective? What mood stabilizer has the lowest side effects?
> Is there a cognitive aspect to this seemingly physical condition that can be helped through counseling? Can for example personality issues such as low self-esteem and social anxiety contribute to cycling?
> Any responses to this post would be very much appreciated.

This sounds like me - except my cycle is about
1 month (opposite pole every 2 -weeks) and is
pretty intense. This mood "ripple" seems to be
on top of a longer cycle which seems seasonal, so
I get some wild times when things pile up.

I had some luck with lithium, but it made me feel
very strange. To be honest, I really enjoy the ups
and have settled into a pattern of treating the
depressions with Zoloft and backing off when I get
hypomanic. It seems like a couple nights of sleep
puts me back on the ground.

I've been putting off trying the mood stabilizers
because of all the side effects reported (everything
from Stephens-Johnson syndrome, to depressed
blood counts and somnolescence - yuk) but from
what I have read, Lamactil seems to have good
antidepressant activity and may be good at both
ends of the spectrum.

Sleep is somehow connected to all of this. I've
read alot about interrupting your sleep cycle when
depressed (i.e., setting the alarm to get up early)
and this makes sense because antidepressants seem
to make this happen on their own (until I can't
sleep at all!).

If I try lamactil I will definitely post my
experience. On the other hand, I'm a songwriter
and musician, so mood swings are part of the
deal for me. I suffer alot when I'm not on meds,
but I also burn the white hot soul iron into some
meaningful places with my moods. It is hard to
find and maintain a good balance.

For me, these cycles have proven completely
immune to therapy (years of it) and the only thing
that impacts them are meds. I have been able to
grow in my understanding of my moods through
therapy, but I can't honestly say they have stopped
what seems to be an organic dysregulation of
some sort. So as for this being a "personality"
trait, well, isn't your "personality" a biological
epiphenomenon too?

Some days my mind is racing, litteraly erupting
with ideas and energy. Other days I can't remember
my phone number. It is hard work dealing with





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