Dysthymia refers to chronic depression that can last for years. It is also known as persistent depressive disorder.
What is Dysthymia?
To expand on the dysthymia definition, it can be helpful to compare it with normal depression symptoms. It is the presence of the symptoms over a long period of time that makes dysthymia different from any other form of depression. The feeling of sadness or hopelessness can last for years and begin to affect a person’s normal life. You can become a gloomy person who can’t feel happy even on the happiest of the occasions.
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Causes and Symptoms of Dysthymia
The causes of dysthymia can be the same as any other depressive disorder. It can be inherited or occur due to a problem with the neurotransmitters in the brain. Traumatic events in life can also trigger depression that may last for years to come. Trauma can cause depression even later in life even if the events took place years earlier.
The dysthymia depression symptoms can differ in their severity levels over the years. The usual symptoms are –
- Loss of usual interest in daily activities
- Hopelessness permeating every aspect of the life
- Lack of energy, extreme fatigue
- Poor self-esteem
- Troubled sleep
- Reduced or increased appetite
If you feel depressive feelings are taking over your life or if the symptoms do not improve after a few weeks; it is a good idea to see a doctor or a therapist.
Recommended Read: Introduction and Types of Depression
The treatment for dysthymia can include therapy and medicines. The doctor will decide on the type of medicine and its dosage as best suited for your condition. But often, it can take time to arrive at the right dose at the first instance itself. So, the treatment requires patience as the doctor continues to monitor your condition and alter the dose as needed.
Therapy can help people with dysthymia understand their symptoms and the ways to release the trauma causing the depression. Talk therapy can also help patients learn coping skills to go through their condition without it taking over their lives. There are also various dysthymia natural treatments available for patients. You may need to practice the natural therapies or undergo the treatments regularly to enjoy the benefits.
Exercising consistently can produce beneficial results in reducing the symptoms of dysthymia. You can also indulge in physical activities such as sports and dancing that you find pleasurable. Physical activities help in the release of serotonin chemical in the brain, which can boost your mood.
A natural diet high in fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy fats (salmon, nuts) can be helpful in reducing the depression. Healing remedies like accupuncture can help reduce the symptoms. Ensure that your acupressure practitioner is qualified and certified by the regulatory bodies.
People with depression can also make yoga and meditation an integral part of their lives. These practices help calm the mind and promote general wellness. Meditation can help in the release of negative emotions, sadness and hopelessness in a positive manner. With chronic depression, it is possible to use alcohol or drugs as coping mechanisms. These can be counterproductive and interfere with your treatment. Deep breathing, meditation and yoga provide a way to cope with chronic depression in wholesome ways.
Journaling, listening to music, spending time with loved ones or indulging in pleasurable tasks can provide a lot of reprieve from dysthymia.
It is also important to continue with your therapy to manage the symptoms.