Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)

(RxWiki News) Persistent depressive disorder is a form of chronic depression that is milder than major depression. If left untreated it can develop into major depression.

Persistent depressive disorder is a chronic form of depression that is less severe than major depression. It is a mood disorder described by having a depressed mood over a period of at least two years. People with persistent depressive disorder also have several other symptoms of regular depression. Periods of feeling normal may come and go. But these periods last no more than two months.

Persistent depressive disorder is believed to be twice as common in women than men. People who have persistent depressive disorder before age 21 tend to have a higher frequency of personality disorders. In addition to a depressed mood, the symptoms include two or more of the following:

  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia (trouble falling asleep or excessive sleeping)
  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions
  • Feelings of hopelessness

This disorder often goes unnoticed. So it is very important to understand the symptoms. It is far better to treat persistent depressive disorder than to think of it as a minor condition. Skipping treatment places people at increased risk of later developing major depression.

Biological causes

Some medical conditions are associated with persistent depressive disorder. In these cases the disorder is not a psychological reaction to being ill but rather is a biological effect of these disorders. These illnesses include:

  • Neurological disorders (such as multiple sclerosis and stroke)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome

Inflammation is a common feature of these illnesses and can also be found in the brain of people with depression. These conditions may interfere with the action of neurotransmitters and be a cause of depression. It’s also possible that medications like beta blockers or steroids taken for common medical illnesses can trigger persistent depressive disorder.

Persistent depressive disorder can also follow severe stress coming from a personal tragedy. This could include losing a loved one or caring for a very ill family member. Older people who have never had any mental disorders are especially prone to persistent depressive disorder after significant life stress.

There are many forms of depression that vary in severity and symptoms. Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor if you are experiencing multiple signs of any depressive disorder. A proper diagnosis will lead to treatment and a better future.