Ultradian Cycling



Ultradian cycling is a fancy way of referring to ultra-fast cycling in the bipolar patient. Whereas rapid cycling means that the person cycles a minimum of four times per year from depression into mania or hypomania and back again, ultradian cyclers can cycle several times in an hour or less and may cycle many, many times during a single day. Many children who exhibit signs of early onset bipolar disorder are subject to this kind of cycling, but adults exhibit the behaviour as well. Ultradian cycling is particularly hard to treat and medication cocktails for it can be quite complex. It is important to show some patience if you are this kind of bipolar person...patience that is with getting the correct medications that will enable some control of the rapid mood swings. Here are some links that will shed some light on this phenomenon.



  1. Ultra-ultra rapid cycling bipolar disorder is associated with the low activity catecholamine-O-methyltransferase allele - an abstract of a study related to this topic.
  2. Complex and Rapid Cycling in Bipolar Children and Adolescents: A Preliminary Study - self-explanatory.
  3. The Neurobiology of Treatment-Resistant Mood Disorders- brain talk - technical.
  4. The Phenomenology of Social Withdrawal Following Brain Insult - There are parts of this article that would be of interest to those wanting to know more about ultradian cycling.