What is Persistent Depressive Disorder Dysthymia?
Persistent depressive disorder dysthymia, previously known as dysthymia, is chronic depression that can vary from mild to severe. People with this disorder are known to have a gloomy personality, affecting work, relationships, and other activities. The symptoms can last from months to years, and the most common way of treating them is through talk therapy or psychotherapy.
What are the Symptoms of Persistent Depressive Disorder Dysthymia?
The symptoms of persistent depressive disorder dysthymia are not constantly present. They are known to come and go over a period, and their intensity is also variable. Another phenomenon known as double depression may also occur during or before persistent disorder dysthymia, which leads to major depressive episodes. A few common symptoms of persistent depressive disorder dysthymia are:
- Loss of interest in pleasurable and daily activities
- Decrease in productivity
- Feelings of guilt, sadness, and helplessness
- Loss of hope
- Difficulty sleeping
- Prolonged lack of energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Irritability, along with social withdrawal
When to See a Doctor?
You should consider talking to a doctor if you think you have symptoms of persistent depressive disorder dysthymia.
What are the Causes of Persistent Depressive Disorder Dysthymia?
The cause of the persistent depressive disorder may be more than one. A few causes that can lead to the disorder include:
- Brain chemistry: Neurotransmitters that most likely play a role in depressive disorders. Recent research indicates that these neurotransmitters play a role in maintaining a stable mood. Thus, any changes in neurotransmitters that alter their function may lead to a depressive disorder.
- Differences at the biological level: It has been found that individuals with physical changes in their brains are likely to have depressive disorders.
- Events of life: Any traumatic event, such as losing a loved one, financial pressure, or any other kind of stress, can trigger a depressive disorder.
- Inheritance: It is seen that depressive disorder is more common in individuals whose close relatives also have a similar condition.
What are the Complications?
Complications associated with depressive disorders may include:
- Severe anxiety issues and mood disorders
- Increase in substance abuse
- Recurrence of suicidal thoughts
- Physical illnesses
How can Persistent Depressive Disorder Dysthymia be Prevented?
To date, no accurate method of preventing depressive disorders has been discovered. Since such disorders are known to start during childhood or teenage years, identifying high-risk children can help them get early treatment, which can prevent this disorder from turning into major depression. A few ways to prevent the disorder are:
- Reaching out to close family and friends in times of stress and crisis
- Finding a maintenance routine that can prevent relapse of the symptoms
- Getting treated as soon as the early symptoms start appearing
- Taking appropriate steps to control stress and boost self-confidence
How can Persistent Depressive Disorder Dysthymia be Diagnosed?
If the doctor suspects, he/she might conduct certain tests for diagnosis. The common tests for diagnosis are:
- History and Physical examination
- Psychological evaluation involves discussing feelings and thoughts to determine if you have persistent depressive disorder dysthymia, or other mood-related conditions.
- Laboratory tests: A few blood tests are prescribed which can indicate if a patient has persistent depressive disorder dysthymia.
How can Persistent Depressive Disorder Dysthymia be treated?
The treatment of persistent depressive disorder can include the following:
- Psychotherapy: This is the most common method of treatment, where patients consult doctors and talk about their symptoms and emotional conditions.
- Medication: Antidepressant medications are sometimes given to patients where psychotherapy is not enough. The types of antidepressants prescribed include serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
You may have to try many medicines or a combination before finding out what works. This method needs patience, as some medicines take many weeks or longer for full effect, and to ease the side effects as the body adjusts. Do not stop taking anti-depressants without speaking with your doctor — he/she can help you decrease your dose gradually and safely. If you stop the treatment abruptly or miss several doses, you may experience withdrawal-like symptoms. In addition, if you quit suddenly, you may experience sudden worse depression episodes.
Persistent depressive disorder dysthymia is a mental health condition that leads to the loss of interest in normal activities, a lack of productivity, sleep, and an overall low mood. It may be caused due to several factors and affects both adults and children. Patients should consult a doctor immediately after symptoms arise, to prevent the condition from worsening.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long does persistent depressive disorder dysthymia last?
Persistent depressive disorder dysthymia is usually a long-term condition and is known to last for 5 years or more.
Are there any physical symptoms of the disorder?
No particular physical symptom is associated with the disorder. But during this period, physical illnesses can also show up.
Do antidepressants have severe side effects?
Most antidepressants have different side effects such as loss of appetite, stomach upset, indigestion, and feelings of agitation.