New York Psychiatrist

Dysthymia TreatmentNew York, NY

Dysthymia is a mild depressive disorder that causes a person to be constantly depressed though mostly functional. Which is why the disorder is also known as persistent depressive disorder, but you can learn to control it with dysthymia treatment.

What dysthymia lacks in severity it makes up for with longevity. The disorder is mild enough to allow a person to function. However, it often lasts two years or more, punctuated with periods of major depression. These spells of severe depression are referred to as double depression because a person now has to deal with two sets of depression.

Luckily, you do not have to make peace with dysthymia. By learning more about the condition and seeking dysthymia treatment, you can live a full and fulfilled life.

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Causes of dysthymia

It is a known fact that the flu is caused by flu viruses and that broken skin is caused by trauma or a cut. The cause of chronic depressive disorder is not that clear cut. Like with severe depression, dysthymia is thought to occur as a result of one or more several causes like:

1. Altered brain chemistry

Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that carry signals between nerve endings. Think of these chemicals like battery acid, with the nerve endings being the terminals.

It is thought that changes in mood can happen when there is a change in how the neurotransmitters function or affect the nerves.

2. Major life events

A change in circumstances or a traumatic event can trigger persistent but mild depression that can be mistakenly shrugged off as regular sadness.

Money troubles, the end of a relationship or bereavement are some of the things that can trigger dysthymia.

3. A family history

Many mental health conditions run in families, so a person with relatives that suffer from depression is more likely to suffer from a form of depression.

Symptoms of dysthymia

At its onset, dysthymia is often explained away as the sadness that follows a distressing event. The thing that sets it apart from sadness is its persistence and the occasional spells of severe depression that come with it.

Common symptoms of dysthymia are:

  • A feeling of sadness, emptiness or despair
  • A lack of interest in day to day routines
  • The person will avoid social contact
  • Change in eating and sleeping patterns
  • Fatigue and listlessness
  • Low self-esteem and an unfounded lack of belief in one's capabilities
  • The person will constantly beat themselves up over past failures, whether real or perceived
  • An inability to make decisions, remember things or concentrate
  • Irritability

  • Usually, a person will show one or more of these symptoms, which will work together to make the person feel that life is a slog. When these feelings persist for months on end, a person or their loved ones should seek medical help.

    Dysthymia treatment

    Left untreated, dysthymia can affect a person's relationships, work, school and their overall physical and mental health. A person who goes to the doctor will be examined to rule out other causes of the symptoms.

    Once the doctor confirms persistent depressive disorder, they will create a treatment plan using or more of the following approaches:

  • Psychotherapy to identify and work through the root cause of the dysthymia. Therapy also gives the patient tools to manage their symptoms and navigate life more successfully
  • Medication
  • Stress reduction techniques like meditation, exercise, art therapy or volunteering
  • Lifestyle changes like a healthy diet, exercise, a better-lit home and therapy animals
  • Take control of dysthymia and your life

    Persistent depressive disorder is an illness like any other, so you should give it the attention it deserves. Luckily, you can beat it with dysthymia treatment and life changes that will get you feeling better about life in general and about yourself specifically.

    If you need our help, come and talk to us. We would love to spend time with you and talk about your condition.

    At Eileen Wachter, MD , we provide diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of mental health issues like dysthymia. Visit us at our New York office today.