Previously this was considered to be a personality disorder or the first stage of a bipolar illness. The essential feature of cyclothymic disorder is a persistent fluctuating mood disturbance including numerous periods of depressive symptoms. These are periods, not episodes, of hypomania or depression. Thus it is a disorder of subsyndromal mood swings analogous to dysthymia in unipolar depression. About one-third of patients with cyclothymic disorder will develop bipolar disorder. (18,)

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