Frequently Asked Questions About Depression Vs. Dysthymia


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Each of us struggles with gloomy and sad days. You may also fight to keep yourself from feeling hopeless, lost, and all those negative emotions. This is usually the case for cancer patients who are in their last days of hospice care. But anyone, really, can have these feelings. And depending on how long you have been feeling this way, it is either you have a major depressive disorder or another form of depression known as dysthymia.

Dysthymia Vs. Depression

Dysthymia is a relatively milder yet permanent type of depression. It is often referred to as persistent depressive disorder. Individuals who are diagnosed with this condition have episodes of major depression frequently.

Depression, on the other hand, is a kind of mood disorder associated with one’s body, thoughts, moods, and feelings towards himself. It is not synonymous with feeling unhappy or very sad. It is also not an indication of weakness or a thing that you can quickly get rid of. Those who are depressed can’t merely snap out of it and quickly improve. Treating it is essential to recovery.

Dysthymia is more common in women than in men. Additionally, some may be depressed, and others may be bipolar.

There is no precise cause for this form of depression. Mental health providers believe it is a consequence of specific chemical imbalances in the brain. A lot of other factors are also thought to add to depression. These include psychological, genetic, biological, and environmental factors. Chronic trauma and stress have also been associated with this condition. Additionally, dysthymia seems to be hereditary, although no genes have been associated with it yet.

Symptoms of Dysthymia

As mentioned above, dysthymia is a milder form of depression. Yet, it is more long compared to major depression seen in people with terminal illnesses such as cancer and diabetes. Each person may feel his symptoms in various ways. These symptoms include:

• Fatigue
• Lack of energy
• Longstanding anxiety, sad, and empty moods
• Less capable of focusing, thinking, or making sound decisions
• Appetite and weight changes
• Sleep pattern changes, like early morning wakefulness, inability to sleep, or oversleeping
• Hopelessness
• Low self-confidence

To diagnose dysthymia, the individual should be experiencing depressive moods for the past two years (one year in adolescents and kids), accompanied by at least two of the symptoms listed above. The symptoms of this condition may mimic that of other mental health disorders. It is wise to talk to a mental health professional for an appropriate diagnosis.

Dysthymia Treatment

• Therapy. This is usually interpersonal or cognitive behavioral therapy. The treatment concentrates on modifying inaccurate perceptions of yourself and your surroundings. This also works to enhance your communication skills and recognize and deal with your stressors efficiently.

• Medications. Various medicines are accessible in the market for treating different forms of depression, including dysthymia. It typically takes four to six weeks for antidepressant medicines to have a complete effect. It is vital to continue taking the medication even if you feel like it’s not working initially. It is also important that you talk to your doctor or therapist before you decide to stop taking. Some people need to change medicines or add medicines to experience better outcomes.

Because this form of depression typically persists for more than five years, a long-term treatment plan may be necessary.

There are actually things you can do to help deal with your depression symptoms. Depression is definitely something that can take a lot of your energy and make you feel worthless, hopeless, and exhausted. These negative ideations and emotions may also make you want to feel like yielding and giving up everything that you’ve built in your life. It is crucial to realize that negativity is part of the condition and may not always reflect reality. Negative thoughts disappear as your treatment starts to take full effect.


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Below are frequently asked questions and answers about depression and its other forms.

What is the meaning of chronic depression?

Sometimes known as mild chronic depression, dysthymia is less extreme and has lesser symptoms than major depression. When you have dysthymia, your depression symptoms can persist for a longer duration, perhaps two years or more.

Is depression a chronic mental illness?

A chronic condition persists for prolonged periods of time and typically can’t be treated entirely. However, some types of depression and other diseases can be treated through exercise, medications, and diet.

What are the 4 types of depression?

The four major types of depression are as follows:

• 1 – Situational depression
• 2 – biological depression
• 3 – psychological depression
• 4 – existential depression

What causes long-term depression?

Neurophysiologically, LTD or long-term depression is an activity-dependent decrease in the effectiveness of the brain’s neuronal connections that last for hours or even longer after a lengthy structured stimulus. LTD happens in several central nervous system regions with different mechanisms that depend on the brain region affected and the developmental progress.

Is long-term depression curable?

Depression can be managed, and its symptoms can be improved, but depression is not completely curable. Instead, the goal must be remission. No one definition is acknowledged for remission, as it differs for each individual. People might have persisting symptoms or abnormal functioning accompanying their remission.

Does depression count as a disability?

Recently, the law considers the impact of impairment on a person. For instance, he is experiencing mild depression with minimal effects might not be included in the coverage. But a person with severe depression and with substantial effects on their everyday activities is most likely to be considered disabled.

Can you get long-term disability for depression and anxiety?

Guidelines differ significantly, but in general, most nervous and mental causes enforce a one or two-year restriction. For instance, if you are experiencing extreme depression to the point that you cannot work, you may be qualified for benefits on your long-term disability policy.

Is depression a progressive disease?

Experts’ observations back the concept of depression as an advanced illness that some individuals may experience bouts of depression over several years. Still, others may have persistent depressive bouts for decades, with symptoms that worsen and increase to the point where it is difficult to perform your usual day-to-day activities.

How can you help someone who is mentally ill?

Below are some techniques that you can use to help a mentally ill person:

• Avoid complicated confrontations.
• Listen without judging and focus on the other person’s needs at the moment.
• Ask them what they need so that you can help them.
• Provide them with resources and other information about their condition.
• Ask them if there is someone that they want you to reach out to or call.

What should you not say to a mentally ill person?

Here are some things that you must not say to a person who is mentally ill:

• “Hey, snap out of this!”
• Well, things could have been worse!”
• “All of us go through OCD or a mood swing at some point in our lives – this is normal.”
• “This is certainly all in your head.”
• “Don’t worry. This, too, will pass.”
• “Perhaps this is all part of God’s mighty plan.”

What happens if the mental illness goes untreated?

Untreated mental disorder can cause poor physical health, including ignoring one’s symptoms, neglecting doctor appointments, and making unwise decisions. When a mental illness is left unmanaged, many people attempt to self-medicate to manage or ignore their symptoms.

Do mental health issues get worse with age?

Mental disorders are not a natural part of the aging process. In fact, mental disorders impact younger adults more than older adults, as reported by the National Institute of Mental Health.

Does depression age your brain?

Studies found that a person’s brain physically grows old quicker when he is depressed. They also showed that depression could alter a person’s brain physically, accelerating the aging effect that may leave him more vulnerable to diseases related to old age.


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Generally, almost everyone with any form of depression has continuing unhappiness and may feel irritable, sad, hopeless, and helpless. Without any treatment, depression symptoms can persist for several years.