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Dysthymia is a chronic, low-grade form of depression that continues for two years or more. Although less severe than major depression, dysthymia can disrupt an individual’s ability to function day to day and to enjoy life. It is also common for people who suffer from dysthymia to experience one or more episodes of major depression.

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that approximately 1.5 percent of adults in the U.S. struggle with dysthymia. Like other types of depression, dysthymia is more common in women than men.

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Symptoms of Dysthymia

People with dysthymia tend to have difficulty relaxing and having fun and may be overly critical of themselves and others. The symptoms of dysthymia resemble the symptoms of major depression and include:

  • Feeling hopeless, guilty, worthless or sad most days
  • Negative outlook on life
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Lack of productivity
  • Low self-esteem
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Difficulty making decisions or concentrating
  • Irritability or anger
  • Insomnia or excessive sleep
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Trouble staying positive even in happy times

These symptoms may vary in intensity and may come and go over time. Dysthymia may occur alongside anxiety disorders, substance abuse and other mental health issues.

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Causes of Dysthymia

The causes of dysthymia aren’t known. Like other depressive disorders, dysthymia has genetic and environmental components. There also may be biochemical changes in the brain that bring on the symptoms of dysthymia. Stressful life events, serious illness, certain medications and a strong need for approval from others can also increase the likelihood of developing the disorder.

Treatment for Dysthymia

A combination of medication (usually antidepressants) and psychotherapy is typically the most effective treatment for dysthymia. Individual, group and family therapy can provide insights into the interaction between one’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors and help people develop healthy coping skills. At Malibu Vista, treatment relieves many of the symptoms of dysthymia, allowing clients to make decisions and find ways to feel fulfilled while minimizing self-defeating behaviors.

Reconnect with your passion for life. Call Malibu Vista 844-874-6483