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Dysthymic Disorder

Dysthymic disorder or dysthmia is a form of chronic depression defined as ranging from mild to moderate in severity. It is not the same as major depression in that dysthymic disorder is low level and persistent. To be diagnosed with dysthymic disorder one need only display three symptoms for a period of more than two years. The symptoms for dysthymic disorder are essentially the same as those of major depression, i.e. constant and chronic fatigue, low self-esteem, feelings of despair, etc. Defining dysthymic disorder as “mild to moderate” depression is a little misleading, for the affects of dysthymic disorder are anything but. In fact, dysthymic disorder left untreated easily leads to major depression later on, and it is estimated that 3-12 percent of people with dysthymic disorder attempt suicide every year.

Dysthymic disorder presents, fortunately, several treatment options. In addition to the same pharmaceuticals used to treat major depression, people suffering from dysthymic disorder also respond to St. John's wort. Furthermore, individuals with this type of depression can benefit from and recover with the aid of cognitive and interpersonal therapies. These therapies are intended to boost the self-esteem and address habitually negative thinking. In other words, the treatments are many, need not involve pharmaceuticals, and in most cases are effective.

Many people with dysthymic disorder are not aware of why they feel the way they do, or what to do about it. Some live many years enduring the symptoms before they realize that something is wrong. However, once the disease is addressed and help is sought things begin to improve, and only get better.