Dysthymia (chronic depression)

There is a type of depression called Dysthymia which is less severe than Major Depression but is more chronic. The symptoms associated with this disorder are milder, but persist for a long period of time. To be diagnosed with Dysthymia a person must experience depressed mood more often than not for a two year period and have at least two of the additional symptoms listed below:

Criteria for Dysthymia

- Depressed mood most of the time for 2 years

At least two additional symptoms:

- eating too much or too little

- sleeping too much or too little or difficulty sleeping

- having little energy or feeling run down

- low self-esteem

- difficulty concentrating or making decisions

- feelings of hopelessness

Symptoms do not meet criteria for Major Depression and are not due to a general medical condition or to a substance abuse disorder

Additional Facts about Dysthymia:

- Most common symptoms are feelings of inadequancy, guilt, generalized loss of interest or pleasure in life, irritability or excessive anger, and decreased productivity

- Women are 2 to 3 times more likely to develop this disorder than men

- At any given time, approximately 3% of individuals suffer from this disorder

- It usually occurs relatively early in life, in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood

- At least three-quarters of people with dysthymia have some other psychiatric or medical disorder as well