Dysthymia, also known as chronic depression, is a mental disorder that can be just as debilitating as major depression. This disorder also means a low mood that lasts for at least two years. Dysthymia can interfere with your daily life and make it difficult to function. If you think you might have dysthymia, it’s important to seek professional help. This guide will provide you with everything you need to know about chronic dysthymia, from symptoms to treatment options.
What is Chronic Dysthymia?
Chronic dysthymia, also known as persistent depressive disorder (PDD), is a long-term form of depression. It is characterized by a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years (one year in children and adolescents). Symptoms of chronic dysthymia are less severe than those of major depression but can still interfere with daily functioning.
Approximately 1.5% of adults in the world suffer from chronic dysthymia. It is more common in women than in men and usually begins in adolescence or young adulthood. These individuals often have a family history of depression or other mental health disorders.
People with chronic dysthymia may have difficulty maintaining relationships, keeping a job, or performing well in school. They may also have low self-esteem and feelings of hopelessness. Many people with chronic dysthymia also suffer from other mental health disorders, such as anxiety disorders, substance abuse disorders, and eating disorders. Treatment for chronic dysthymia typically includes psychotherapy and medication.
Symptoms of Chronic Dysthymia
Chronic dysthymia, also known as persistent depressive disorder, is a long-term form of depression. Symptoms of chronic dysthymia may be less severe than those of major depression, but they can last for years.
Common symptoms of chronic dysthymia include:
Depressed mood most of the day, more days than not
When not depressed, you never feel as good as you do when you’re not depressed. Sometimes called the “blue funk”. These also are called, “the blahs”.
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you once enjoyed
Another common symptom of depression is the loss of interest or pleasure in activities you once enjoyed. This includes a loss of sexual interest.
Significant weight change, appetite changes, or both
It’s common for people with chronic dysthymia to either eat too much or too little. This can lead to unhealthy body weight.
Sleeping too much or not enough; insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day
The downward spiral of sleep problems can be difficult to break out of if you’re depressed. Insomnia leads to fatigue — and when you’re tired, it’s harder to concentrate and get things done. As a result, your work and personal life may suffer — which can make you feel even more depressed. Depression also makes it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. As a result, you may wake up feeling exhausted — another symptom that can worsen depression.
Reduced energy levels and fatigue
There are two types of fatigue — mental and physical. Mental fatigue can make it hard to concentrate, remember things, and make decisions. Physical fatigue is physical tiredness that limits your ability to do ordinary activities. People with chronic dysthymia often experience both types of fatigue.
Feeling worthless or excessively guilty nearly every day
Chronic dysthymia can leave you feeling hopeless, helpless, and worthless. It can also lead you to believe that you’re responsible for everything bad that happens — even when it’s not your fault. These feelings may become so strong that they lead to suicidal thoughts or attempts.
Problems concentrating, making decisions, and remembering details almost every day
Depression can make it hard to focus on work tasks or other projects. You may have trouble paying attention during conversations or making decisions about simple things like what to wear or what to eat for breakfast. You may also find yourself losing items often because you can’t remember where you put them down — or forgetting important appointments or deadlines.
Movement changes; slowed thinking (psychomotor retardation); anxiety; agitation; irritability almost every day (observed by others)
Another sign of depression is psychomotor retardation — when you move more slowly and think more slowly than normal. When you’re depressed, it can be hard to find the energy to do anything. You may also have racing thoughts or feel so nervous that you can’t sit still. These symptoms might make others think you’re agitated, even if you’re not.
Causes of Chronic Dysthymia
Chronic dysthymia, also known as persistent depressive disorder, is a form of depression that lasts for at least two years. It is characterized by a persistently depressed mood, as well as other symptoms such as low self-esteem, poor concentration, and fatigue.
While the exact cause of chronic dysthymia is unknown, it is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. For example, people who have a family history of depression are more likely to experience chronic dysthymia themselves. Additionally, stressful life events such as divorce or the death of a loved one can trigger the onset of this disorder.
Some other causes of chronic dysthymia may include chemical imbalances in the brain, problems with brain development, or exposure to stressful environments during childhood. Additionally, chronic medical conditions, such as thyroid disorders or autoimmune diseases, can also contribute to the development of chronic dysthymia.
Diagnosing Chronic Dysthymia
Diagnosing chronic dysthymia can be a challenge. The symptoms of chronic dysthymia may not be as severe as those of major depression, so it may be harder to notice the problem.
There is no one test to diagnose chronic dysthymia. A diagnosis is made based on symptoms, medical history, and family history. If you think you or someone you know may have chronic dysthymia, consult with a mental health professional for an evaluation.
There is no blood test or brain scan that will definitively diagnose chronic dysthymia. However, a physician can ask questions about your medical and mental health history, conduct a physical examination, order blood tests, and perform other types of evaluations to rule out physical causes for your symptoms (such as thyroid problems).
During this evaluation, the mental health professional will ask questions about your symptoms and how they are affecting your life. The mental health professional may also ask about your family history of mental illness. He or she will use all of this information to make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.
Treatment for Chronic Dysthymia
While there is no cure for chronic dysthymia, there are treatments that can help lessen the symptoms and improve the quality of life. Treatment typically involves a combination of medication and psychotherapy.
Medication can often help to stabilize mood and relieve symptoms of depression. Commonly prescribed medications for chronic dysthymia include antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
Psychotherapy is another effective treatment for chronic dysthymia. It can help people learn how to cope with their disorder and make positive changes in their lives. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one type of therapy that is often used to treat chronic dysthymia. CBT teaches people how to identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors that contribute to their disorder.
Exposure therapy and interpersonal therapy are other types of psychotherapy that can also help to treat chronic dysthymia. Exposure therapy helps people confront their fears and learn to manage their anxiety. Interpersonal therapy focuses on helping people improve their relationships and communication skills.
An important part of treatment for chronic dysthymia is finding support. Support groups provide a space for people to share their experiences and connect with others who understand what they are going through. These support groups can be an important part of treatment and recovery.
An important part of managing chronic dysthymia is taking care of yourself. This includes getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep. It is also important to find ways to relax and reduce stress in your life. Yoga, meditation, and deep breathing are all good ways to reduce stress.
Living with Chronic Dysthymia
Dysthymia is a serious condition that can interfere with your ability to function in your day-to-day life. If you are living with dysthymia, it is important to seek treatment. Treatment can help you manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Living with chronic dysthymia can be difficult. The condition can cause you to feel down or depressed most of the time. You may have trouble sleeping, eating, or concentrating. Dysthymia can also cause physical symptoms, such as fatigue and headaches.
Dysthymia can make it hard to take care of your responsibilities at home, work, or school. You may have trouble keeping up with your hobbies or social activities. The condition can also strain your relationships.
If you are living with dysthymia, it is important to seek treatment. Treatment can help you manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Treatment may include medication, therapy, or both.
Although chronic dysthymia can be a difficult disorder to live with, there is hope. With treatment, many people with chronic dysthymia can lead happy and fulfilling lives. If you think you or someone you know may be suffering from chronic dysthymia, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.
Hope this article was of help to you! If you are suffering from mental health disorders, you may seek help from Therapy Mantra. We have a team of highly trained and experienced therapists who can provide you with the tools and skills necessary for overcoming mental health disorders. Contact us today to schedule an online therapy or download our free Android or iOS app for more information.