Dysthymia (Mild, Chronic Depression)
- What causes dysthymia?
- What are the signs and symptoms of dysthymia?
- Is dysthymia common in the U.S.?
- How is dysthymia diagnosed?
- How is dysthymia treated?
- What is psychotherapy?
- How do antidepressants help ease dysthymia?
- What else can I do to feel better?
- Can dysthymia worsen?
- Patient Comments: Dysthymia - Symptoms
- Find a local Psychiatrist in your town
Dysthymia, sometimes referred to as mild, chronic depression, is less severe than major depression. With dysthymia, the depression symptoms can linger for a long period of time, often two years or longer. Those who suffer from dysthymia can also experience periods of major depression.
What Causes Dysthymia?
Experts are not sure what causes dysthymia or depression. Genes may play a role, but many affected people will not have a family history of depression, and others with family history will not have depression problems. Changes in levels of brain chemicals are also believed to be involved. Major life stressors, chronic illness, medications, and relationship or work problems may also increase the chances of dysthymia.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Dysthymia?
The symptoms of dysthymia are the same as those of major depression but not as intense and include the following:
- sadness or depressed mood most of the day or almost every day
- loss of enjoyment in things that were once pleasurable
- major change in weight (gain or loss of more than 5% of weight within a month) or appetite
- insomnia or excessive sleep almost every day
- physically restless or rundown that is noticeable by others
- fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
- feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness or excessive guilt almost every day
- problems with concentration or making decisions almost every day
- recurring thoughts of death or suicide, suicide plan, or suicide attempt
Is Dysthymia Common in the U.S.?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 1.5% of adult Americans are affected by dysthymia. While not disabling like major depression, dysthymia can keep you from feeling your best and functioning optimally. Dysthymia can begin in childhood or in adulthood and seems to be more common in women.
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