Dysthymia

Dysthymia, also known as recurrent mild depression, is a form of low-grade depression, which lasts a long period. Sufferers can display a constant low mood and other people can perceive them as being glum. Some people feel they have been like this all their life and believe this persistent low mood is just who they are. They can go through life feeling unimportant, dissatisfied, afraid, and anxious. Symptoms usually come and go over the years and can often develop into major depressive episodes. This condition is “Double Depression”

While symptoms are less severe than major depression, individuals require more input and a longer treatment period, often with more Psychotherapy and higher doses of antidepressants.

Dysthymia in adults is “late-onset Dysthymia”. Symptoms include

· Persistent sadness and feeling low
· Lose interest in day to day activities
· Feeling hopeless & lacking productivity
· Low self-esteem & feeling inadequate
· Lack of energy
· Irritability and angry outbursts
· Feelings of guilt & remorse for things in the past
· Sleep problems

In children with “early-onset Dysthymia”, the symptoms can display differently

· Irritability & angry outburst
· Behavioural problems
· Poor school performance
· Pessimistic attitude
· Poor social skills
· Low self-esteem

The symptoms of Dysthymia are clear enough, but the diagnostic criteria seems intricate.

· Depressive periods must be present most days over a two year period in adults, or one year for children.

· The diagnosis is not made if the disorder starts with a major depressive episode or develops into a major depression within the first 2 years.

· Following the initial two-year period, the onset of Major Depression can further complicate matters. This is called “Double Depression”.

· The Disorder is not normally diagnosed if a person is depression-free for more than two months.

The treatment

Appears to be more involving and intensely longer than treatment of other depressions and will include a combination of Talking Therapy and medications over a long period