Life is tough and it’s nearly impossible to stay positive all the time. However, if you have been losing interest in normal activities and feeling gloomy for not just weeks, but years, you may be experiencing dysthymia. Oftentimes referred to as persistent depressive disorder, dysthymia is a chronic, long-term form of depression. It may come with feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy and a lack of self-esteem.
It can significantly impact your life and have an influence on your daily activities, work, school, and relationships. On the happiest of occasions, it may even be difficult for you to be able to enjoy the day or have fun, due to its chronic nature.
Since this depressive state has been your norm for years on end, it can be difficult to cope with your depression symptoms. However, a combination of psychotherapy and medication can be beneficial and help you feel relief.
Causes of Dysthymia
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what causes chronic depression, as there are a number of contributing factors such as brain chemistry, inherited traits, and significant life events.
- Everyone is wired differently and while we can’t control our brain chemistry, we can try to understand it. When you are depressed, neurotransmitters that are naturally occurring, especially those controlling mood stability, may not be working the way they are supposed to.
- It’s common for people who have a blood relative that has a persistent depressive disorder or major depressive disorder to also inherit depression.
- Significant stress and traumatic events, such as the death of a loved one or experiencing or witnessing an assault, can sometimes trigger chronic depression.
You may have wondered at some point, and even now, if you have dysthymia or major depression. While they both have similarities, they have differences as well. For one, dysthymia has fewer symptoms than major depressive disorder.
Also, the symptoms must last for a longer period of time – at least two years. Even with fewer symptoms, dysthymia can be more of a disruption to your life, because of the length of time symptoms last.
Here are some symptoms that can be found in both dysthymia and major depression:
- Change in eating patterns
- Problems sleeping
- Lack of energy
- Low self-esteem
- Trouble concentrating
- Difficulty making decisions
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Feelings of despair
With dysthymia, you will have at least two of these symptoms and with major depression, you will have at least five.
There are different treatment options for depression. Some of the most common might include medication, individual talk therapy, and group therapy.
Incorporating exercise, a good amount of sleep, and a healthy diet can also help you with stress management and ease your depression symptoms.
Last Updated on April 12, 2022