What Is Dysthymia?


Every day, millions of Americans struggle with their mental health. Even if you have never dealt with a condition such as PTSD, anxiety or depression, these mental illnesses are prevalent enough to have touched someone in your life. 

As we continue observing Mental Illness Awareness Week, it’s critical to shine a light on what constitutes mental illness, work to end the stigma around mental health disorders and encourage people living with these issues to seek help. 

Understanding Dysthymia

Dysthymia, also called persistent depressive disorder, is a chronic form of depression characterized by a lack of motivation, feelings of hopelessness, low self-worth and overall unhappiness. Though dysthymia is typically not as acute as major depressive disorder, its ongoing nature can sap the joy out of life, leaving you feeling fatigued, irritable and empty. 

People living with persistent depressive disorder may display most or all of the following symptoms:

  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Changes in appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Avoiding social activities
  • Loss of energy and enthusiasm
  • A consistently pessimistic, self-defeating attitude
  • Chronic guilt about past events or worries about the future

Persistent Depressive Disorder Treatment

Though persistent depressive disorder is a treatable condition, many people living with dysthymia do not get help. In some cases, hopelessness and a lack of motivation might contribute to this issue. Many people might also mistakenly believe their dysthymia symptoms are a normal part of their personality, not a problem they can solve. 

If you have been lethargic or unenthusiastic, some simple lifestyle changes can help you start feeling more like yourself again. For example, spending time in nature, volunteering in your community, exercising more and playing with your pet can all release feel-good brain chemicals that help improve your mood naturally. 

Thursday, Oct. 7, marks National Depression Screening Day. As an important part of Mental Health Awareness Week, screening tools can help you learn if you have any of the hallmarks of persistent depressive disorder. Though a depression screening is not a substitute for a formal diagnosis from a mental health professional, it can be a beneficial first step in identifying signs of an underlying issue. 

Mental Health Treatment for Adults

If you struggle to find joy in life or feel sad and empty most of the time, a qualified treatment program can provide you with the counseling, structure and compassionate support you need to manage your dysthymia and begin making positive progress. At Pine Grove, our adult psychiatric program addresses depression and a range of other concerns for people who are working to overcome mental health issues and co-occurring disorders such as substance abuse. 

We offer inpatient, outpatient and partial hospitalization programs to ensure you can find a plan that fits your needs and current lifestyle. While we highly recommend inpatient treatment for people with more extensive concerns who need to focus fully on their care, outpatient and partial hospitalization options provide more flexibility by allowing you to live at home while you participate in programming. To learn more about our services and how we can help you, please call our assessment office today at 888-574-4673 or connect with us online.

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