DYSTHYMIA: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

DYSTHYMIA: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment


Dysthymia is a type of mood disorder earlier known ‘Depressive personality’ was later given the name dysthymia by Robert Spitzer. One can simply call dysthymia the big brother of depression. It is defined as a serious state of chronic depression though it is less acute than major depression.


SYMPTOMS of Dysthymia:


The characteristics of dysthymia can be pinned as:


  • Prolonged depressed mood.

  • Insomnia or Hypersomnia.

  • Fatigue.

  • Feelings of hopelessness.

  • Poor concentration.

  • Irritability (More common in children and adolescents).

  • Increased alcoholism and drug addiction.


The patients of dysthymia often seem to withdraw from usual activities seeking less pleasure in pastimes. Patients usually hide the above mentioned symptoms which makes it difficult to diagnose.  Suicidal ideation is a concern that dysthymia patients face in particular. 


CAUSES of Dysthymia:


Experts say stress, social isolation, and a lack of social support are the causes of dysthymia. Some suggest that it can be hereditary too.


If the patient experiences a major depressive situation or incident on existing dysthymia it can lead to double depression.


DIAGNOSIS of Dysthymia:


The main symptoms of a person having dysthymia are; feeling depressed from a long span of time, at least two years, energy is low, loss of appetite, sleep disorders. Sufferers may be considered as ‘a moody person’ by the surrounding people; the above mentioned symptoms are seen consistently. Children and adolescents show irritability for the duration of at least one year and two years in adults.


It is first very important to notice and identify the changed behaviour of a person. Though the disorder cannot be prevented, it is beneficial to spend time with children and help them in their problems thereby preventing the feeling of isolation that pops in one's mind. Helping in controlling, boosting self-confidence and providing good social support makes a person more stable.


TREATMENT of Dysthymia:


Like any other physical disorder mental health is equally essential and demands equal attention. There is no shame, no act of pity. If you seek help for mental disorders the body needs to be cured from wherever it is damaged.


Dysthymia can be treated with psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. Psychotherapy may be the first recommendation for children and adolescents with dysthymia but that depends on the individual. Sometimes antidepressants are also needed.


The types of antidepressants commonly used for treatment includes:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake and inhibitors (SSRIs).

  • Tricyclic antidepressants (PCAs).

  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)


If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, some antidepressants may pose an increased health risk to your unborn baby or nursing child. So better consult a doctor.


What mental health needs is more unashamed conversation.


“Anything that’s human is mentionable and anything that’s mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting and less scary”.


Read more:


What Is Dunning Kruger’s Effect


Child Discipline


Ptsd In The Workplace