Dysthymia is also known as Persistent Depressive Disorder. A person is diagnosed with dysthymia after having a continuous depression of more than two to three years. People with dysthymia may not remember a time when they felt joy in their lives. It is a milder yet longer form of depression and affects women two to three times more often than men. It can also affect children, with a diagnosis being made after one year of continuous depression and their mood may be irritable rather than depressed.
For some, dysthymia becomes part of a person’s personality. People often delay treatment because they feel that the condition is normal for them. For those diagnosed with dysthymia about 10% will go on to develop Major Depressive Disorder.
Dysthymia may also be related to substance abuse. Those with the condition may abuse drugs or alcohol in an effort to find some relief to their depression. Similar to the symptoms of depression those with dysthymia may either overeat or have a lack of appetite, sleep too much or have sleeping difficulties, feel a lack of energy, have difficulty concentrating and feeling hopeless.
This topic is important to me because my therapist believes I have dysthymia. I can’t remember a time when I felt happy but I know it’s been a few years. I sleep too much and I eat too much. I feel overwhelmed writing out bills or I can only accomplish one or two things a day. I can’t clean my house the way I want to. I just have no motivation. Sometimes I won’t shower for a few days or even leave my bed except to go to the bathroom.
I’m not suicidal, I don’t harm myself, and I know it could be way worse, but still, I sometimes wonder “Is this the best it’s ever going to get?”
I do have a few bright spots though. I love doing anything with my son, even if it’s just reading together or playing a game. I like being on the internet, being up on the news, watching Netflix and I love reading.
But I do wonder if there’s any drug or therapy that will help me come out of this so I can be more fully engaged in my life.
(*Source: All About Depression)
(Photo Credit: Mike Baxter)