Dysthymic Disorder is comparable to chronic depression, but is not as severe as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). The main symptom of this condition is an almost daily depressed mood for a minimum of two years. Low energy, changes in sleeping and eating habits and low self-worth are generally on the list of the clinical symptoms as well.
The following behaviors are also connected with someone who has Dysthymic Disorder:
1) Changes in Thinking - Many folks experience difficulty with concentrating and making decisions. Some people have difficulty with their short term memory. Negativity, poor self-esteem, too much guilt, and self-criticism are common as well.
2) Changes in Feelings - A number of folks say they feel gloomy for no good reason or that they no longer like activities they once found to be pleasing. Some feel exhausted and run down constantly. At times irritability and a short-temper are issues as well. Frequently, Dysthymic disorder brings on feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
3) Becoming Reclusive - Suddenly becoming ill at ease around other folks. Some people experience a change in appetite - either overeating or losing their appetite. Unremitting sadness and weeping jags are not uncommon. And others may blow up in anger unexpectedly for reasons unknown at others, grumble about every little thing. Loss of sexual appetite and - in extreme cases - some folks stop bathing and brushing their hair for weeks.
4) Changes in Physical Well-being - unremitting fatigue is common, despite spending more hours sleeping... Some folks can't fall asleep, or don't sleep well. They lay awake for hours, or awaken several times in the night. Others sleep lots of hours, even most of the day, but still feel tired. A number of people lose their appetite, feel slowed down by depression, and complain of a variety of aches and pains.
Treating Dysthymic Disorder
Psychiatric treatment is often good at treating the symptoms of Dysthymic Disorder - in spite of its obvious long-term nature. Some people get better with antidepressant medication and psychiatric treatment together - similar to traditional chronic depression treatments.
Second, cognitive therapy is used to amend the pessimistic ideas, foolish expectations, and excessive self-criticism that not only cause the depression but help to prolong it. Cognitive therapy can help a depressed person be able to identify which of life's problems are serious and which are minor. Plus it helps them learn how to deal with and accept those normal life setbacks that inevitably arise from time to time - which can't be changed and have to be faced.
Third, problem solving therapy is frequently needed to adjust the parts of the individual's life that are causing considerable stress, and contributing to the depression. The ultimate purpose of behavioral therapy is to help the patient cultivate better coping techniques, while interpersonal therapy can help them in working with and resolving their relationship conflicts.