Health Information

Dysthymia

What is dysthymia?

Dysthymia, also known as dysthymic disorder, is classified as a type of affective disorder (also called mood disorder) that often resembles a less severe, yet more chronic form of major (clinical) depression. However, persons with dysthymia may also experience major depressive episodes at times.

Depression is a mood disorder that involves a person's body, mood, and thoughts. It can affect and disrupt eating, sleeping, or thinking patterns, and is not the same as being unhappy or in a "blue" mood, nor is it 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. Treatment is often necessary and many times crucial to recovery.

There are three primary types of depression, including:
  • major depression (clinical depression)
  • bipolar disorder (manic depression)
  • dysthymic disorder (dysthymia)

How is dysthymia diagnosed?

Because depression has shown to often co-exist with other medical conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes, and other psychiatric disorders, such as substance abuse, or anxiety disorders, seeking early diagnosis and treatment is crucial to recovery. A diagnosis is often made after a careful psychiatric examination and medical history performed by a psychiatrist or other mental health professional.

Treatment for dysthymia:

Specific treatment for dysthymia will be determined by your physician based on:
  • your age, overall health, and medical history
  • extent of the condition
  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the condition
  • your opinion or preference