Dysthymic2018-09-27T13:41:39+00:00

Dysthymic Disorder

Dysthymic Disorder

Dysthymic Disorder

Persistent depressive disorder, also called dysthymia (dis-THIE-me-uh), is a continuous long-term (chronic) form of depression. You may lose interest in normal daily activities, feel hopeless, lack productivity, and have low self-esteem and an overall feeling of inadequacy. These feelings last for years and may significantly interfere with your relationships, school, work and daily activities.

If you have persistent depressive disorder, you may find it hard to be upbeat even on happy occasions — you may be described as having a gloomy personality, constantly complaining or incapable of having fun. Though persistent depressive disorder is not as severe as major depression, your current depressed mood may be mild, moderate or severe.

Because of the chronic nature of persistent depressive disorder, coping with depression symptoms can be challenging, but a combination of talk therapy (psychotherapy) and medication can be effective in treating this condition.

Symptoms of Dysthymic Disorder:

Persistent depressive disorder symptoms usually come and go over a period of years, and their intensity can change over time. But typically symptoms don’t disappear for more than two months at a time. In addition, major depression episodes may occur before or during persistent depressive disorder — this is sometimes called double depression.

Symptoms of persistent depressive disorder can cause significant impairment and may include:

  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Sadness, emptiness or feeling down
  • Hopelessness
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Low self-esteem, self-criticism or feeling incapable
  • Trouble concentrating and trouble making decisions
  • Irritability or excessive anger
  • Decreased activity, effectiveness and productivity
  • Avoidance of social activities
  • Feelings of guilt and worries over the past
  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Sleep problems

In children, symptoms of persistent depressive disorder may include depressed mood and irritability.

When To See A Doctor:

Because these feelings have gone on for such a long time, you may think they’ll always be part of your life. But if you have any symptoms of persistent depressive disorder, seek medical help.

Talk to your primary care doctor about your symptoms. Or seek help directly from a mental health provider. If you’re reluctant to see a mental health professional, reach out to someone else who may be able to help guide you to treatment, whether it’s a friend or loved one, a teacher, a faith leader, or someone else you trust.

If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

Diagnosing Dysthymic Disorder:

If your doctor suspects you have persistent depressive disorder, exams and tests may include:

  • Physical exam. The doctor may do a physical exam and ask in-depth questions about your health to determine what may be causing your depression. In some cases, it may be linked to an underlying physical health problem
  • Lab tests. Your doctor may order lab tests to rule out other medical conditions that may cause depressive symptoms. For example, your doctor may order a blood test to find out if your thyroid is underactive (hypothyroidism)
  • Psychological evaluation. This includes discussing your thoughts, feelings and behavior and it may include a questionnaire to help pinpoint a diagnosis. This evaluation can help determine if you have persistent depressive disorder or another condition that can affect mood, such as major depression, bipolar disorder or seasonal affective disorder

Treatment of Dysthymic Disorder:

The two main treatments for persistent depressive disorder are medications and talk therapy (psychotherapy).

The treatment approach your doctor recommends depends on factors such as:

  • Severity of your symptoms
  • Your desire to address emotional or situational issues affecting your life
  • Your personal preferences
  • Previous treatment methods
  • Your ability to tolerate medications
  • Other emotional problems you may have

Psychotherapy may be the first recommendation for children and adolescents with persistent depressive disorder, but that depends on the individual. Sometimes antidepressants are also needed.

Medications for Dysthymic Disorder can include:

The types of antidepressants most commonly used to treat persistent depressive disorder include:

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

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about possible side effects.

Symptoms of Dysthymic Disorder:

Persistent depressive disorder symptoms usually come and go over a period of years, and their intensity can change over time. But typically symptoms don’t disappear for more than two months at a time. In addition, major depression episodes may occur before or during persistent depressive disorder — this is sometimes called double depression.

Symptoms of persistent depressive disorder can cause significant impairment and may include:

  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Sadness, emptiness or feeling down
  • Hopelessness
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Low self-esteem, self-criticism or feeling incapable
  • Trouble concentrating and trouble making decisions
  • Irritability or excessive anger
  • Decreased activity, effectiveness and productivity
  • Avoidance of social activities
  • Feelings of guilt and worries over the past
  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Sleep problems

In children, symptoms of persistent depressive disorder may include depressed mood and irritability.

When To See A Doctor:

Because these feelings have gone on for such a long time, you may think they’ll always be part of your life. But if you have any symptoms of persistent depressive disorder, seek medical help.

Talk to your primary care doctor about your symptoms. Or seek help directly from a mental health provider. If you’re reluctant to see a mental health professional, reach out to someone else who may be able to help guide you to treatment, whether it’s a friend or loved one, a teacher, a faith leader, or someone else you trust.

If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

Diagnosing Dysthymic Disorder:

If your doctor suspects you have persistent depressive disorder, exams and tests may include:

  • Physical exam. The doctor may do a physical exam and ask in-depth questions about your health to determine what may be causing your depression. In some cases, it may be linked to an underlying physical health problem
  • Lab tests. Your doctor may order lab tests to rule out other medical conditions that may cause depressive symptoms. For example, your doctor may order a blood test to find out if your thyroid is underactive (hypothyroidism)
  • Psychological evaluation. This includes discussing your thoughts, feelings and behavior and it may include a questionnaire to help pinpoint a diagnosis. This evaluation can help determine if you have persistent depressive disorder or another condition that can affect mood, such as major depression, bipolar disorder or seasonal affective disorder

Treatment of Dysthymic Disorder:

The two main treatments for persistent depressive disorder are medications and talk therapy (psychotherapy).

The treatment approach your doctor recommends depends on factors such as:

  • Severity of your symptoms
  • Your desire to address emotional or situational issues affecting your life
  • Your personal preferences
  • Previous treatment methods
  • Your ability to tolerate medications
  • Other emotional problems you may have

Psychotherapy may be the first recommendation for children and adolescents with persistent depressive disorder, but that depends on the individual. Sometimes antidepressants are also needed.

Medications for Dysthymic Disorder can include:

The types of antidepressants most commonly used to treat persistent depressive disorder include:

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

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about possible side effects.