Dysthymic Disorder (Dysthymia)

Dysthymic Disorder Woman

Defining Dysthymic Mood Disorder

Dysthymic disorder, popularly known as Persistent Depressive Disorder, is a very distinctive mood disorder characterized by a depressive personality. It was earlier familiar as dysthymia or depressive personality and was later recognized as a proper mood disorder known as dysthymic disorder. People suffering from chronic depression are the most susceptible to it. It is different from bipolar disorder, and cyclothymic mood disorder.

It is very difficult to diagnose it as people suffering from it are generally not aware that they are the victims of an ongoing depression and they believe that depression is not a disorder, but a part of their personality.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Loss of energy and vigor
  • Lack of enthusiasm in everyday activities
  • Persistent sadness
  • Lesser interest in socializing
  • Low self-esteem
  • Cynical outlook
  • Constant sadness
  • Loss or gain in body weight
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling worthless
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Feeling of guilt

Causes and Risk Factors

Dysthymic disorder can occur in individuals of all ages. It has also been proven that it is actually a depression related mood disorder. There are various theories that explain potential reason for its beginning. Constant illness is one of the most common reasons for it in children as well as adults. Ongoing stress or failures can be the potential reason for it. Accidents, death of a loved done, loss of job, failure of a relationship, or parting ways with someone dear, are the common causes for it. The risk factors for developing it include the following:

  • Persistent feelings of hopelessness
  • Persistent depression
  • Extreme stress
  • Avoidance of social situations


The best way to treat dysthymic mood disorder is through therapy and medication. Strong social support networks, like family support, are helpful in treating it effectively. It is incorrect to ignore the mildest forms of depression. Accepting depression as a part of person’s personality can lead to fatal health risks. Talking it through with loved ones and realizing the root cause of chronic depression can provide a good outlet. Though there is not always a root cause to be found, this method is helpful especially in case arising from guilt.

Altering lifestyle can be a big step toward its treatment. Avoid smoking and keep alcohol intake under control avoid exacerbating its symptoms. Many people use alcohol to relax their brain and fall asleep however alcohol tends to worsen the situation. These lifestyle changes can facilitate overcoming it.

There are various treatments offered in a rehabilitation facility that are beneficial in helping to treat dysthymic mood Disorder. Psychotherapy is the most common professional way to treat it. In case treating depression with therapy alone proves difficult, there are medications that doctors may prescribe. Making positive changes is important in treatment, especially if it is coupled with alcohol or substance abuse addiction. It is important to seek treatment to resume living a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.


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