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Re: Cyclothymia & mood stabilizers

Posted by Cynthia on August 7, 1999, at 16:31:34

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.

Hi Andrew and Sean,

My high/low cycle is one week long, it's also seasonal (like yours Sean). Funny Andrew I'm thinking that you're cycles are a week or a month long. Cycling may very well be tied into our living cycles of weeks, months and years. Of all the medications I've tried for cyclothymia, I've had my best luck with 600mg of lithium; it controls my highs (most are not pleasant, although a few can be incredible - communicating with spirits kind of stuff) and helps with my 'treatment resistant' - ADs don't seem to work on the low part of my weekly cycle - depression. Although lately (I'm hoping I'm not speaking too soon) my depression is getting better and better and for the past two weeks, I would not even say I am experiencing any depression on my 'down' days. I attribute this to it being summer, lots of light in the sky; keeping my body on a very regular schedule, getting up, going to bed at the same time, eating at the same times, taking my medications at the same time everyday - this tells my body 'oh, this medication must mean it's time to get up and have a full day, or 'oh, this medications means that I will probably be going to sleep soon'.

Now that I pretty well have my medications right (please god yes!), I've also begun to receive counselling from a psychologist. For although I know I've inherited a genetic predisposition for psychiatric illnesses, unfortunately for me I was also abused as a child. As a consequence of this, I have a low self-esteem. I'm making major headway here and although it so hard sometimes to isolate the factors that are helping you to feel better, I'm thinking counselling is one of them.

I went a little off track there Andrew. Lithium, 600 mg. I tried a few other medications (sorry I can't remember their names but they didn't help as much as lithium and one of them did something to my blood). Once I got on lithium I stopped looking.

I'm getting real close to being a normal human being with all this medication and help and hard work.

Good luck

One thing I find about being cyclothymic is how painfully aware of my depression I am when I am suffering from it because I have just been feeling so good.





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