Dysthymia (Persistent Depressive Disorder)
Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD
Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
- Dysthymia facts
- What is dysthymia?
- What are causes and risk factors for dysthymia?
- What are symptoms and signs of dysthymia?
- How do health-care professionals diagnose dysthymia?
- What is the treatment for dysthymia?
- What is the prognosis of dysthymia?
- Is it possible to prevent dysthymia?
- Are there support groups for people with dysthymia?
- Patient Comments: Dysthymia - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Dysthymia - Psychotherapy
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- Dysthymia, now referred to as persistent depressive disorder, is a form of depression that lasts more than two years at a time in adults and more than one year at a time in children and adolescents.
- Dysthymia can afflict 3%-6% of the United States population -- women more than men and more African Americans than Caucasian and some groups of Hispanic people.
- Dysthymic disorder usually co-occurs with other disorders, like major depression, anxiety, personality or somatoform disorders, and with substance abuse.
- People with dysthymia tend to have a number of biological, psychological, and environmental risk factors that contribute to its development rather than one single cause of the illness.
- In order to meet criteria for the diagnosis of dysthymia, a person must experience depression most of every day, more days than not for at least two years in a row in adults, one year for children and teens.
- Health professionals will likely conduct or refer for an extensive medical interview and physical examination and will conduct a thorough mental-health assessment as part of establishing the diagnosis of dysthymia.
- The treatment of dysthymia is found to be most effective when it includes both medication treatment and several weeks of talk therapy (psychotherapy).
- Serotonergic medications (SSRIs) are often the first-line medication treatment for dysthymia due to their effectiveness and high tolerability.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is effective as part of treatment for dysthymia.
- People with dysthymia are at risk for having a compromised life adjustment, marital problems, and generally having low social support, even more so than people with major depression.
- Attempts at prevention of dysthymia tend to address both specific and nonspecific risk factors and strengthen protective factors.
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