What is Dysthymia? Definition, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

What is Dysthymia? Definition, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

What is Dysthymia?

 

Like all types of depression, the symptoms of dysthymia also include low mood, sadness, anger, guilt, and anhedonia, but they are not as same as they may be persistent for longer periods.  

 

The term was used as a replacement for “depressive personality” by Robert Spitzer, a psychiatrist, in the late 1970s. Sometimes the symptoms go unnoticed because they are not that severe.

 

Dysthymia Definition

"Dysthymia or Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD) is a mild type of depression that lasts for longer periods of time affecting the patient’s life."

 

 

Dysthymia Symptoms

Some of the symptoms consists

 

  • Depressive symptoms like sadness, anger, guilt, emptiness, and fatigue for most of the day.
  • Loss or gain of appetite.
  • Oversleeping or difficulty falling asleep.
  • Low energy or anhedonia (losing interest in things you once enjoyed).
  • Poor concentration or lack of focus.
  • Continuous feeling of hopelessness.

 

The symptoms of dysthymia are similar to those of depression but in dysthymia, the symptoms are present on most days for at least 2 years in adults and at least 1 year in children and teens.

 

Doctors use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) published by the American Psychiatric Association to identify the symptoms of dysthymia.

 

 

Define Dysthymia

 

Dysthymia is a milder, but long-lasting form of depression. The occurrence of dysthymia or PDD is common but the exact cause is still known. Factors that contribute to PDD include

 

  • Irregularity in Brain Circuitry
  • Stress
  • Trauma from Life events
  • Loss of Close or Loved ones
  • Financial Problems
  • Accidents like concussions
  • Genes or family history of PDD
  • Chronic illnesses like heart conditions or diabetes
  • Substance abuse

 

 

What Triggers Dysthymia?

 

Many factors contribute to Dysthymia. These include

  • Environmental Factors
  • Psychological Factors
  • Biological Factors
  • Genetic Factors

 

Chronic stress and trauma have also been linked to Dysthymia condition.

 

 

Dysthymia Treatment

 

PDD can be managed by talking to your doctors and finding out the best treatment that works for you. The most common treatments are medication or talk therapy/counseling or a combination of both.

 

1. Medication:

Medication or prescription drugs, antidepressants, are prescribed by a doctor. The most commonly used medications are:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs),
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).

The medication may take a month or two for showing the difference.

 

2. Therapy and Counseling

Psychotherapy or Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in which a therapist will talk to you about your thoughts and emotions, and how it affects the action done by you. These therapy sessions can be done alone or in group sessions. Phone or video calls can also be used. The therapies are helpful in:

  • Understanding your thoughts better.
  • Identifying the thoughts that trigger symptoms.
  • Try to learn to cope with your emotions and feelings.
  • Expressing your thoughts more rather than bottling up your emotions.

 

3. Lifestyle Change

Some of the lifestyle changes can improve your health to prevent Dysthymia.

  • Daily Exercise.
  • Healthy eating habits.
  • Trying to have a healthy sleep cycle can also help with your condition.
  • Avoiding alcohol and drug use.
  • Meditating and yoga help regain focus and concentration.
  • Writing or documenting your experiences in a journal or diary.

 

 

Dysthymia Prevention

Though it is hard to prevent Dysthymia one can identify the symptoms at early stages and start treatment at the earliest.

  • The children can avoid relapse if treated early.
  • Talk about your thoughts with close ones who can provide support and encourage you to get better.
  • Avoiding stress or stressful activities which can trigger the symptoms.
  • Meditating and yoga or techniques to help you relax.
  • Avoiding alcohol and drugs.
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Depression FAQ

What is Dysthymia?

Dysthymia is low mood occurring depression for at least two years, along with at least other symptoms like lost interest in normal activities, hopelessness, low self-esteem, low appetite, low energy, sleep changes, and poor concentration.

What is the difference between Dysthymia and Major Depression?

If you have dysthymia symptoms will have hung on for at least 2 years without much relief. While in Major Depression You can be diagnosed with MDD if you have symptoms for 2 weeks.

How to Treat Dysthymia?

Dysthymia can be treated by 3 techniques.

  1. Medication
  2. Therapy and Counseling
  3. Lifestyle Change

How Long does Dysthymia Last?

If you have dysthymia, you’ll have at least two of these symptoms, along with a depressed mood. The symptoms will have hung on for at least 2 years without much relief.

What Dysthymia Feels Like?

Dysthymia has symptoms like :

  • Depressive symptoms like sadness, anger, guilt, emptiness, and fatigue for most of the day.
  • Loss or gain of appetite
  • Oversleeping or difficulty falling asleep.
  • Low energy or anhedonia (losing interest in things you once enjoyed)
  • Poor concentration or lack of focus
  • Continuous feeling of hopelessness

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