Dysthymic Disorder – Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Test and Treatment

Are you finding your partner low for the past few days? Watch out! He or she may be suffering from Dysthymic Disorder. Read on to know what is Dysthymic Disorder, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

Dysthymic Disorder is pronounced as “Dees-theee-meek Dees-or-dar”. It is also known as Dysthmia and spelled as “Dis-thee-mee-ah”.

Dysthymic Disorder Definition

Dysthymic Disorder is a mood disorder that is marked by chronic depression. Dysthymic Disorder people regularly suffer from a depressed mood.

The disease annually affects approximately 5% of the entire population. Dysthymic Disorder is also known as Dysthymia, Neurotic Depression and Chronic Depression.

Dysthymic Disorder Gender

The condition is seen more in members of female species. Women are two to three times more likely to suffer from this disease than men.

Dysthymic Disorder Symptoms

The disease is characterized by a number of symptoms. The symptoms of Dysthymic Disorder often manifest themselves during teen years or early adulthood. In case of Dysthymic Disorder early onset, especially under 21 years of age, patients are likely to develop more personality disorder symptoms than in case of a later onset.

The disease is primarily marked by a low feeling and dark mood on most days of the year. This is accompanied by a number of other problems such as

  • Despair
  • Low self confidence
  • Fatigue
  • Poor concentration
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Marked weight loss or gain
  • Loss of interest in normal and pleasurable activities
  • Insomnia or Hypersomnia
  • Retardation
  • Self-guilt

Dysthymic Disorder may also impact the appetite of sufferers. They may eat more or much less than normal. They also suffer from too little or too much sleep. Patients of this condition also have a highly pessimistic view of themselves, their future, people around them and the world in general.

Causes of Dysthymic Disorder

It is still uncertain what exactly causes Dysthymic Disorder. It is mostly believed to be a genetic condition as the disease has been seen to affect many members of the same family.

Some of the other major Dysthymic Disorder causes are

Decline in Mental Functions

People who suffer from a steady deterioration of mental abilities are at increased risk of having this disease. This usually happens if the person has been a patient of mental ailments like depression or anxiety sometime in the past or is still suffering from it.

Substance Abuse

Individuals who use alcohol or drugs for a long time often turn out to be victims of mental incapability. This can bring about ailments like Dysthymic Disorder.


People who live a lonely existence in isolation from others can also suffer from this condition. Such people also have difficulty looking after themselves.

Traumatic Experiences

Dysthymic Disorder may also arise as a result of some shocking incident that might have caused mental trauma or stress to the patient.


In Dysthymic Disorder genetic reasons are also believed to be a factor. The disease is seen to run in families and affect multiple members from the same household.

Dysthymic Disorder Diagnosis

Dysthymic Disorder is usually detected by an expert medical professional specializing in mental health. Doctors usually check for the medical history of the mental health and mood of the sufferer. The health care professional may analyze the urine and blood of suffering individuals to dismiss medicinal factors as cause of this condition.

Dysthymic Disorder Test

There is no proper way to examine this condition. However, a healthcare provider may carry out some physical examinations to make sure that the Dysthymic Disorder health symptoms are not the result of some other condition. This includes checking vital signs such as blood pressure, body temperature and heart rate. A complete blood count analysis (CBC) may be done to check for presence of drugs or alcohol in the bloodstream.

Dysthymic Disorder Treatment

This condition is usually treated with the aid of medications as well as Psychotherapy. Dysthymic Disorder medications generally involve antidepressants like

  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin)
  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Mirtazapine (Remeron, Avanza)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Venlafaxine (Effexor)

In some cases, remedy is carried out with the aid of anti-anxiety medications and mood stabilizers. In a few patients, two different kinds of anti-depressants may be prescribed for cure.

Dysthymic Disorder Natural Treatment

In many cases, Psychotherapy is found to yield a better result than medications. Talk therapy aims at finding out if the condition has resulted from any past stressful incident, lack of friends or family support or any other mental issues. It also aims at changing perceptions and thought patterns of sufferers. For sufferers of Dysthymic Disorder best treatment is usually a combination of Psychotherapy and antidepressant medications.

Three kinds of Psychotherapy are used for Dysthymic Disorder cure. These are :

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This therapy helps correct negative thoughts in the sufferer and guides them to think more positively.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

It helps a patient of depression become aware of the psychological factors that may be driving them to despair and depressive behavior.

Group Psychotherapy

Joining a support group and talking to people with similar problems can also help cure this condition. If you are interested in joining a group, get the advice of your healthcare provider or therapist.

Dysthymic Disorder Prognosis

Dysthymic Disorder remission rate is not quite good. This is a chronic disease that lasts for a very long time. Some patients recover completely while others continue to suffer from some symptoms despite treatment.

Dysthymic Disorder Risk Factors

A number of complications may arise from Dysthymic Disorder. The condition can impact proper functioning of a person. It increases chances of suicide. In some cases, it may turn into a major depressive condition known as “Double Depression”. In many patients of Dysthymic Disorder relationships, family life and personal relationships suffer a serious impact.

Dysthymic Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder

Dysthymic Disorder shares many symptoms with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Though it is less serious than MDD, the condition can give rise to serious complications in long term sufferers. In patients of Chronic Dysthmia, MDD can arise sometime in future.

Like MDD, Dysthymic Disorder runs in families and can make victims suffer from Chronic Stress. Both disorders are marked by low self esteem, loss of interest in daily activities, low mood and extreme melancholy.

If you find a dear one or family member showing Dysthymic Disorder symptoms, take him or her to a psychiatrist immediately. Proper treatment in time can help the patient recover in time without long-term problems and suicidal activities.












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