Head | Psychiatry | Dysthymia (Disease)


A person with dysthymia or dysthymic disorder has a type of depression where their moods are regularly low. Dysthymia is a mild but chronic form of depression.

As dysthymia is a chronic disorder, sufferers may experience symptoms for many years before it is diagnosed, if diagnosis occurs at all. As a result, they may believe that depression is a part of their character, so they may not even discuss their symptoms with doctors, family members, or friends.

Causes and Risk factors

Depression is a mood disorder that involves a persons body, mood, and thoughts. It can affect and disrupt eating, sleeping, or thinking patterns, and is not the same as being unhappy or in a blue mood, nor is it a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away.

Dysthymia has a number of typical characteristics: low drive, low self-esteem, and a low capacity for pleasure. Mild degrees of dysthymia may result in people withdrawing from stress and avoiding opportunities for failure. In more severe cases of dysthymia people may even withdraw from daily activities. They will usually find little pleasure in usual activities and pastimes.

Diagnosis and Treatment

People with a depressive illness cannot merely pull themselves together and get better. Treatment is often necessary and many times crucial to recovery.

Diagnosis of dysthymia can be difficult because of the subtle nature of the symptoms and patients often can hide them in social situations making it challenging for others to detect symptoms.

Additionally, dysthymia often occurs at the same time as other psychological disorders, which adds a level of complexity in determining the presence of dysthymia, particularly because there is often an overlap in the symptoms of disorders. Psychotherapy is often effective in treating dysthymia. Different modalities have been shown to be beneficial. ...