Treating dysthymia and other forms of depressionDysthymic disorder or simply dysthymia is a less severe form of depression but which lasts longer than the major depression. Most patients of dysthymia described being depressed for so long and some will feel that they are in and out of being depressed at all times. Dysthymia symptoms are more or less similar to major depression but are less intense. Both conditions are characterized by the person having an irritable or low mood, decreased pleasure and energy loss. The patient tends to feel disengaged from the rest of the world and greatly unmotivated. They can have an increased or decreased weight and appetite and the person could have sleeping troubles or sleep too much and concentration difficulties are also apparent.

Other symptoms of dysthymia

Long lasting sad or low mood is the main symptom for dysthymia and such people are also known to be greatly irritable. Other common symptoms among those highlighted above are low self esteem, indecisiveness, difficulty concentrating, low energy or fatigue and pessimism or hopelessness. Just like with major depression, dysthymia usually run in families and it less common in men than in women. Most people with this disorder tend to have experienced a big loss particularly in their childhood like loss of a parent.

Diagnosing cases of dysthymia

It is possible for a primary care doctor to easily recognize a person with a certain form of depression and might refer them to a professional mental health physician for further evaluation. Low mood is the main way of diagnosing the condition and other depressive symptoms in their lives. Sometimes, the symptoms of dysthymia could be signaling the likelihood of another mood disorder like major depression where the symptoms can be very severe. There is also bipolar disorder where one experiences depressive episodes and periods of irritable or elevated mood referred to as manic episodes. Bipolar disorder could also occur in a milder form known as cyclothymic disorder. Unfortunately, no lab tests can be done to diagnose the condition.

Prevention and treatment

Unfortunately, there is no known way of preventing dysthymia and a combination of medication and psychotherapy is usually the best treatment combination for this condition. A number of factors will determine the best form of psychotherapy like the nature of stressful events experienced by the person, experience of social/ family support and also personal preference. In most cases, therapy includes education and emotional support about depression. Self critical thoughts can be examined and corrected through cognitive behavioral therapy
Antidepressant medications are also recommended for using by people with dysthymia who might tend to think that it is normal for them to ‘feel blue’. Your doctor will recommend the best types of antidepressants to use in such cases but great consideration should also be given to the likely side effects of using a certain medication. The doctor can even prescribe two different types of antidepressant medications depending on your condition.