A depressive disorder is a profound or persistent feeling of sadness, despair or worthlessness and a lack of desire to engage in formerly pleasurable activities.
A depressive disorder is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts. It interferes with daily life, normal functioning, and causes pain for both the person with the disorder and those who care about him or her.
It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away. People with a depressive illness cannot merely “pull themselves together” and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Depression is a common but serious illness, and most people who experience it need treatment to get better. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people who suffer from depression.
Depressive disorders come in different forms, just as is the case with other illnesses such as heart disease. However, within these types there are variations in the number of symptoms as well as their severity and persistence.
Major depression is manifested by a combination of symptoms (see symptom list) that interfere with the ability to work, study, sleep, eat, and enjoy once pleasurable activities. Such a disabling episode of depression may occur only once but more commonly occurs several times in a lifetime.
A complex mind/body illness, depression disorders can be treated with drugs and/or therapy.
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 Rather, you might tend to be inactive and withdrawn; you worry frequently, and criticize yourself as being a failure.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.
Disturbance in sleep, appetite, and mental processes are a common accompaniment