Dysthymic Disorder is a chronic condition characterized by depressive symptoms that occur for most of the day, more days than not, for at least 2 years.
People with dysthymia generally experience little or no joy in their lives. Instead things are rather gloomy most of the time. If you have dysthymia you may be unable to remember a time when you felt happy, excited, or inspired. It may seem as if you have been depressed all your life. You probably have a hard time enjoying things and having fun. Rather, you might tend to be inactive and withdrawn; you worry frequently, and criticize yourself as being a failure. You may also feel guilty, irritable, sluggish, and have difficulty sleeping regularly.
Dysthymia is a milder yet more enduring type of depression that affects women two to three times more often than men. The diagnosis is given when a person has had continuous depressed mood for at least two years. For children, the duration only needs to be one year, and their mood may be irritable rather than sad or depressed. People with dysthymia may appear to be chronically mildly depressed to the point that it seems to be a part of their personality. When a person finally seeks treatment for dysthymia, it is not uncommon that he/she has had this condition for a number of years. Because dysthymia may develop early in a person’s life, it is not uncommon for someone with this condition to believe that it is normal to always feel depressed.
Dysthymia is a condition that tends to develop early in a person’s life, but most people delay approximately ten years before ever seeking treatment. This is unfortunate since the sooner a person seeks help the sooner he or she can get relief and possibly avoid further distress. It is very important that children with symptoms of dysthymia receive an evaluation from a mental health professional or physician. Early treatment may help these youngsters avoid more serious mood disorders, difficulties in school and their social life.
Symptoms of dysthymic disorder include a poor appetite or overeating, difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much, low energy, fatigue and feelings of hopelessness. People who have dysthymic disorder may have periods of normal mood that last up to 2 months. Family members and friends may not even know that their loved one is depressed. Even though this type of depression is mild, it may make it difficult for a person to function at home, school or work.