Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)

What Is It?

Published: March, 2019

Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia) is a form of depression. It may be less severe than major depression, but — as the name suggests — it lasts longer. Many people with this type of depression describe having been depressed as long as they can remember, or they feel they are going in and out of depression all the time.

The symptoms of persistent depressive disorder are similar to those of major depression. In this disorder, the long duration is the key to the diagnosis, not the intensity of symptoms. As with major depression, mood may be either low or irritable. An individual with persistent depressive disorder may feel less pleasure and a lack of energy. He or she may feel relatively unmotivated and disengaged from life. Appetite and weight can increase or decrease. The person may sleep too much or have trouble sleeping. Indecisiveness, pessimism and poor self-image may also be present.

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