Dysthymia – chronic depression

Dysthymia is chronic mild depression. The term dysthymia was coined by psychiatrist Robert Spitzer to replace the term neurotic depression. Before the term ” dysthymic disorder” appeared, this disease was called neurasthenia and psychasthenia. The presence of symptoms of dysthymia in a patient is not a basis for a diagnosis of major depressive disorder. Dysthymia is diagnosed when the disorder has lasted more than two years. In children, this diagnosis is made if the symptoms of the disease appear for at least one year.             

Dysthymia usually begins at a young age, but it can also start later in life. Often, people with dysthymia learn about their illness several years after its onset.    

Dysthymia symptoms

The symptoms of chronic dysthymia are:

  •  excitement and inhibition of appetite – strictly individual symptoms  
  •  insomnia or hypersomnia 
  •  feeling tired, decreased energy potential
  •  low self-esteem
  •  difficulty concentrating and making decisions  
  •  feeling of hopelessness
  •  loss of the ability to enjoy your favorite activities – anhedonia;  
  •  the appearance of thoughts of suicide. 

The above symptoms have a deep negative impact on areas of life and activity that are very important for the patient .  

With the early onset of dysthymia, more symptoms of the disease may occur. In addition , these individuals are highly susceptible to the occurrence of a diagnosis of major depressive disorder.  

Types of dysthymia

  •  Somatized . This type of depression is characterized by the following symptoms: heart palpitations, poor health, shortness of breath, constipation, increased tearfulness, sleep disturbances. Feelings of anxiety often appear.
  •  Characterological . Typical signs of the type: anhedonia, blues, pessimism, thoughts about the meaninglessness of life, increased sensitivity to troubles, gloom, taciturnity.  

Dysthymia treatment

Dysthymia is a serious condition, but it can still be treated. Traditional tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are used to treat dysthymia : imipramine, amitriptyline, clomipromine . At the moment the treatment of dysthymia limited as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). A new drug OIMAO-A was also released – a reversible MAO inhibitor of type A, the therapeutic effect of which, in turn, is equivalent to the action of TCA. Psychotherapy is also effective in treating dysthymia . Along with individual therapy, a positive impact okazyvyet group therapy, which allows the patient to dysthymia develop assertiveness , as well as interpersonal communication , increase self-confidence.                

Treatment for dysthymia cannot be postponed, as the disease can worsen and turn into double depression. Therefore, it is very important to see a doctor in a timely manner .   

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