If you\u2019ve ever been accused of being \u201cmoody\u201d and wondered if your moods cross the line from normal ups and downs to an actual mood disorder, you may have a condition called cyclothymia, or cyclothymic disorder. There is no cyclothymia test you can take to determine if this is the case, but you can be diagnosed based on your symptoms. Your doctor will ask you questions about your moods, and may refer you to a specialist to fine-tune your diagnosis, since cyclothymia and bipolar disorder can be similar. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PDD) may also need to be ruled out. Symptoms of Cyclothymia Like those with bipolar disorder, people with cyclothymia experience distinct two mood phases \u2013 a depressive phase and a manic phase. Both phases need to meet certain criteria: \tThe mood states need to be upsetting, distracting or severe enough to interrupt your ability to function in more than one setting (for example, at home, at work and with friends). \tThese moods can\u2019t be explained by some other factor (a medical condition or hormones, the use of drugs or alcohol, or a severe and sudden trauma). \tThis moodiness isn\u2019t a reaction to life circumstances, and it is persisting for a long time. In fact, your doctor will look back over the past couple of years with you, identifying patterns of moods. To be diagnosed with cyclothymic disorder, you will have at least two years of depressive and manic moods with very little time in between each where you just feel \u201cnormal.\u201d Cyclothymia \u2013 The Depressive Phase During the depressive phase of cyclothymia, your symptoms can include: \tFeeling tired all the time or having no energy or enthusiasm for anything, including things you normally enjoy \tChanges in appetite and changes in weight (gaining or losing) \tFeeling sad, lonely, worthless and hopeless \tChanges in your sleep patterns (for some, insomnia; for others, sleeping excessively) \tThoughts of death, such as thoughts about suicide or vague, morbid thoughts about being dead \tIsolation or withdrawing from family and friends \tFeeling confused, mentally disorganized, or too tired or overwhelmed to think clearly Cyclothymia \u2013 The Manic Phase During the manic (or if not full-blown manic, then \u201chypomanic,\u201d which means a less intense version of mania) phase, you may experience: \tFeeling like you have boundless energy. So much energy, in fact, you may not need sleep. Some people in manic phases do not sleep for days at a time. \tRacing thoughts and pressured speech. These two tend to go together \u2013 you feel like your thoughts are going so fast you can hardly keep up, and when you try to talk, you just can\u2019t stop. Other people will tell you that they can\u2019t get a word in edgewise. \tEmotionally, all your feelings are intensified and exaggerated. You\u2019re not just happy, you\u2019re jubilant. You may also feel impatient or irritable. Your self-esteem is also intensely exaggerated \u2013 you feel capable of anything. \tImpulsivity and risk-taking. This often impacts spending\/shopping, as well as sexuality and use of alcohol or other drugs. Since there is no definitive cyclothymia test, your doctor may ask you to keep a journal, so the two of you can chart your moods over time. You may also find some online quizzes or questionnaires that relate to mood disorders. If you take one, share your responses with your doctor or therapist and use it to better understand your symptoms. All too often, women are considered moody and self-reported symptoms are not taken as seriously as they should be. Medical conditions like cyclothymia can wreak havoc on home life, relationships and performance at work. Getting diagnosed is an important first step.