Friday, March 7, 2014

Chronic Depression - Living Under the Cloud of Impending Doom

Another long-term form of depression, Chronic Depression or Dysthymia is much less severe and yet considered a chronic form.

Dysthymia does not stop a person from performing routine functions but prevents him from performing them as well as he could have.

It's believed that some of the causes of dysthymia could be childhood trauma, adjustment problems during the formative teen years or stress in the adult life.

People with dysthymia could stay depressed for quite a long time starting with days continuing for up to two years.

Dysthymia is again a fairly common psychological ailment and generally affects about 3-5 percent of the people.

Though the symptoms of dysthymia greatly resemble those of manic depression, there are not as severe and as such tend to be overlooked or misdiagnosed as a case of psychosomatic illness.

This is the kind of depression I have dealt with for my entire life. The chronic feelings of sadness and "feeling down" turned out to be dysthymia.

For many years I got misdiagnosed because I started having headaches and stomach discomfort which brought my doctors to believe that I had a psychosomatic illness, which is the fancy term used when no physical damage is found in the body. It leads to believe that the cause is purely mental.

Harvard Health Publications states that, "the Greek word dysthymia means 'bad state of mind' or 'ill humor'.

As one of the two chief forms of clinical depression, it usually has fewer or less serious symptoms than major depression but lasts longer."

At least three-quarters of patients with dysthymia also have a chronic physical illness or another psychiatric disorder such as one of the anxiety disorders, drug addiction, or alcoholism.

The Primary Care Journal says that dysthymia "affects approximately 3% of the population and is associated with significant functional impairment". Harvard health Publications says: "The rate of depression in the families of people with dysthymia is as high as 50% for the early-onset form of the disorder."

Unfortunately although this type of depression is fairly common most people with dysthymia can't tell for sure when they first became depressed, making the diagnosis quite challenging at times.

Consult your doctor about this type of chronic depression called dysthymia.

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