Dysthymia is a persistent depressive disorder that can happen at various stages of life. It can take away your joy for living, causing you to lose interest in things that once mattered to you. It can bring on feelings of low self-esteem and gloom. The symptoms often go on for years. Dysthymic disorder gets in the way of work, school and relationships and can cast a shadow around daily life. Sadness seeps in to even the best days.
Forms of depression like dysthymia can be difficult to address on your own. It’s worse when it occurs with substance abuse, eating disorders and other mental health issues. The Promises team of mental health specialists treats the depressive disorder dysthymia. We conduct thorough biopsychosocial testing to understand all the underlying issues. We can also help assess whether chronic depression is related to dysthymic disorder, seasonal affective disorder, depressive personality disorder or bipolar disorder. We treat all related issues at one time.
At Promises, we use many approaches in depression treatment, including:
- Working with a psychiatrist to determine if medication is appropriate
- Individual, group and family therapy
- Exploring the issues that may be contributing to your mood disorder
- Traditional cognitive behavioral therapy as well as alternative and trauma-focused therapies
- Creating safe spaces where you can share your experiences and receive support
- Learning healthy coping skills
- Establishing a healthy lifestyle
Dysthymia is chronic, low-grade depression that continues for two years or more. Although less severe than major depression, dysthymic disorder can disrupt your ability to function. It prevents you from feeling excitement or engagement in life. It’s common to also experience one or more episodes of major depression.
At least 1.5% of adults in the U.S. struggle with dysthymia. Like other types of depression, dysthymic disorder is more common in women than men.
Warning Signs of Dysthymia
People with dysthymia tend to have difficulty relaxing and having fun. They may be critical of themselves and others. The symptoms of dysthymia resemble the symptoms of major depression and include:
- Feeling hopeless, guilty, worthless or sad most days
- Negative outlook on life and depressive mood
- Loss of interest in usual activities
- Lack of productivity
- Low self-esteem
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Difficulty making decisions or concentrating
- Irritability or anger
- Insomnia or excessive sleep
- Changes in appetite
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Trouble staying positive even in happy times
Dysthymia symptoms may vary in intensity and may come and go over time. Chronic depression may occur alongside anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, substance abuse and other mental health issues. Symptoms usually don’t go away without professional help. Some people will need treatment for dysthymia to get better.
Causes of Dysthymia
An exact cause of dysthymia is not known. Like other persistent depressive disorders, scientists believe dysthymia has genetic and environmental components. There also may be biochemical changes in the brain that bring on the symptoms of dysthymia. It can be triggered by stressful life events, serious illness and certain medications. Childhood trauma and painful incidents can also be the cause. A strong need for approval from others may also add to chronic depression.
Losing Hope for Happiness
People with dysthymia tend to think it is a part of their personality. You may consider yourself “down in the dumps” or “blue.” Or you may feel apathy about life and lack energy. It is difficult to be enthusiastic about anything when you have dysthymia. Many people experience dysthymia symptoms for so long they don’t believe there is help. But life can be better by treating dysthymia.
What Happens in Dysthymia Treatment
Antidepressants and psychotherapy are the most effective treatments for dysthymia. Sometimes the brain needs medication to get back into balance. But individual, group and family therapy are equally important. Therapy can help you develop insights into your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. You’ll also build healthy coping skills.
At Promises, we address the symptoms of dysthymia as well as underlying issues. Our experienced therapists use talk therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy as well as alternative approaches. Medications may include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). With treatment, you can learn to make decisions, rebuild your self-esteem and reduce self-defeating behaviors.
Find Hope Today
If you’re struggling with depression, Promises’ expert treatment team can help. Diagnosis and treatment for dysthymia are key to healing. Residential treatment is important if you are also dealing with addiction, binge eating disorder, anxiety disorder or other mental health issues. Recover in a safe, nurturing environment with peers sharing similar struggles. Call today for a confidential assessment: 844-876-5568.
To learn more about Dysthymia Treatment, call 844-876-5568