Definition of Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)

If you are struggling with dysthymia, known as persistent depressive disorder, you may be seeking help because you feel like you’re watching your opportunities for happiness drift by. It may feel too difficult to overcome negative thoughts and emotions even on the happiest occasions. Loved ones may say you’re brooding, continuously complaining, or angry, or that you simply need to lighten up and try harder to have fun. Fortunately, this condition is less severe than major depression and there is effective persistent depressive disorder treatment that can help you overcome dysthymia symptoms.

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If you want to know more about what is persistent depressive disorder and what is the best treatment for it? Call the experts at Pathways.

What is Dysthymia?

Persistent depressive disorder is continual (chronic) depression. People who suffer from this disorder often have low self-esteem and frequently feel hopeless, sad, and powerless to overcome ongoing negative feelings and thoughts. A persistent depressive disorder definition includes signs such as disinterest in usual daily activities, low productivity at school or work, relationship difficulties, and other serious problems.

Dysthymia Symptoms 

Persistent depressive disorder symptoms typically increase and decrease and fluctuate in intensity for a few months at a time through the years but don’t disappear. Symptoms often include:

  • Feeling hopeless
  • Low energy, feeling tired
  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Avoiding social interactions
  • Difficulty focussing
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor work or school performance
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability or anger
  • Lack of appetite or overeating
  • Sense of guilt, worrying about the past
  • Other depression-related symptoms

Causes of Persistent Depressive Disorder

The precise cause of persistent depressive disorder is unclear. Similar to major depression disorder, it may involve biological factors, brain chemistry factors that affect the stability of moods, and other physical and mental contributors.

Diagnosis often includes physical and psychological examinations and tests to identify possible links to another condition that can impact mood. Examples may include physical illness or disease, bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder, or other issue(s).

When To See a Doctor for Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)

You may think you’ll always feel this way, empty and sad, but there are effective treatments for persistent depressive disorder. The first step is to discuss it with your doctor or mental healthcare provider. Or, ask a friend or loved one, or someone else you trust to help identify the best providers of the most suitable type of depression treatment for you.

If you think you might be at risk of hurting yourself or have suicidal thoughts, call 911 or your local emergency response service without delay.

Dysthymia Treatments

The primary treatments for persistent depressive disorder are medication and/or psychotherapy (talk therapy). Your doctor can recommend one of those approaches or a combination of the two, depending on considerations such as:

  • The duration and severity of your depression
  • Your motivation to overcome your symptoms
  • Your preferences of treatment type(s)
  • Your history with depression treatment methods
  • Your physical tolerance for depression medications
  • Co-occurring disorders or other issues

Medications: Below is the list of antidepressants most frequently used in persistent depressive disorder treatment. Discuss potential side effects with your doctor, and ask him or her about safely decreasing and discontinuing the use of the medication.

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).

Psychotherapy: Psychological counseling, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, and other forms of talk therapy can be very effective in controlling the recurring onset of symptoms of persistent depressive disorder. These treatments can be exceptionally helpful to:

  • Gain a sense of greater satisfaction with your life
  • Identify issues contributing to your depression
  • Identify and replacing negative beliefs with positive healthy thinking
  • Change habits that worsen the condition
  • Develop powerful coping strategies
  • Find effective ways to solve persistent problems
  • Build skills for controlling anger and gaining greater freedom from it
  • Examine and develop more positive relationships
  • Adopt self-empowering ways to overcome feelings of hopelessness
  • Explore current goals and strategies for achieving or modifying them

Relief from Symptoms of Persistent Depressive Disorder

Because the persistent depressive disorder is a chronic condition, coping with the symptoms over the long term can seem overwhelming. However, combining the dysthymia treatments of talk therapy with appropriate medication can provide an effective, comprehensive program for controlling this condition and enjoying a much more satisfying life.

Pathways Real Life Recovery Depression Treatment in Utah

Pathways is a mental health treatment center in Utah. We offer our clients the best depression treatment from a highly experienced team of caring specialists. Our therapy staff includes Depression Treatment Specialists, Medical Doctors (MD), Life Skills Training Specialists, Self-Esteem Experts, Trauma Specialists, Addiction Specialists, and other top professionals in the field of depression treatment.

For information about depression treatment or a free assessment, call Pathways Real Life Recovery at (801) 895-3006, or contact us here on our website to schedule.