Most people experience some level of low mood. A proportion of these will find their low mood develop into depression. A proportion of these will find their depressive episode never quite seems to subside to a point where they feel properly recovered. Symptoms that continue for at least two years could be a sign of dysthymic disorder.
The term dysthymic refers to a mild and ongoing form of depression in which events and situations are joyless. On top of this, energy is lacking and getting through the day is effortful. There are also cases where a person with dysthymic disorder can experience a major depressive episode, a condition known as ‘double depression'.
To be diagnosed with dysthymic disorder the person needs to experience a depressed mood for most of the day. They also need to show at least two symptoms from the following:
- a) Poor appetite or overeating.
- b) Insomnia or hypersomnia.
- c) Low energy or fatigue.
- d) Low self-esteem.
- e) Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions.
- f) Feelings of hopelessness.
Dysthymia (or dysthymic disorder) usually appears occurs around childhood, early adolescence or early adulthood. This early onset, tied in as it is with developmental issues, may embed the disorder within the personality although it is something of a chicken-and-egg situation. Do personality features predispose young people to dysthymia or does dysthymia imprint itself within personality?
Many people become so used to living in a mild state of depression they may not see it for what it is. If treated, the response rates are quite good, or put another way, untreated people have a far higher risk of moving into a major depressive episode.
Psychotherapy, often in the form of Cognitive-behavioral therapy is recommended because its approach is to work with the client to help turn around many of the beliefs that seem to underpin the disorder. For example, it is common to find a great sense of helplessness and a tendency to blame others for misfortunes. The therapist will also focus on self-esteem issues as well as the anger and general dismay that tends to accompany the disorder.
Published On: October 04, 2009
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