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Common symptoms of this chronic form of depression

Dysthymia (pronounced dis-thime'-e-a ) is a chronic form of depression with milder symptoms than those seen in episodes of full-blown depression. Dysthymic individuals do not usually have the profound sleep and appetite disturbances typical of major depressive episodes. As a result, they may be misdiagnosed as having a personality disorder and never receive treatment for their underlying depression.

Characteristics of individuals with dysthymia:

  • Dependable, conscientious, loyal, devoted
  • Tendency to brood about inadequacies, inferiority, past failures
  • Prone to excessive worrying
  • Pessimistic
  • Guilt ridden
  • Socially anxious
  • Sensitive, easily hurt
  • Feel like frauds
  • Cautious
  • Have persistent thoughts about death or dying
  • Difficulty being assertive

Get a depression consultation if you feel you have any of these symptoms!

Dysthymic individuals may develop episodes of major depressionon top of their chronic depression. This is called “double depression. ” At such times, dysthymic people can have severe problems with sleep and appetite. Many individuals have had dysthymia since adolescence. A number of these so-called “early onset” dysthymics later develop hypomanic episodes.

Although the symptoms of dysthymia are not as severe as those in major depression, the cautiousness, difficulty experiencing pleasure, feelings of inadequacy, and low energy associated with the illness can keep someone from achieving their potential and make living feel like a burden.

Because they can function and don’t have incapacitating symptoms, people with dysthymia may look as if they just have a gloomy personality. Up until 1980, in fact, the American Psychiatric Association considered dysthymics to have a “depressive personality disorder.” But we now know that dysthymia is a form of depression that responds very well to a combination of antidepressant medication and psychotherapy.

Looking for a depression therapist in the Long Island Area?

Call my Huntington, NY office or buy "The Depression Sourcebook" for information on depression and its treatment

The material provided is for your information only. It cannot be used to definitively diagnose or treat what you believe may be dysthymia. If you believe you may have dysthymia, consult a licensed mental health professional.

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