Dysthymic Disorder

(Also Known As: Disthymic Disorder, Dysthymia, Depression, Neurotic Depression, Mood Disorder, Chronic Depression, Depression - Chronic, Persistent Depressive Disorder)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What is Dysthymic Disorder?

Dysthymic Disorder is a chronic disorder characterized by a depressed mood that lasts most of the day and is present continuously, without periods of relief. The most typical features of Dysthymic Disorder are feelings of inadequacy, guilt, irritability, anger, withdrawal from society, loss of interest, inactivity, and lack of productivity.

Sometimes the condition is also known as Dysthymia, a term introduced during the 1980’s meaning “ill humored”. But now, most patients are classified as having Dysthymic Disorder. Such individuals had been classified as having a depressive neurosis (also called neurotic depression) 1

Dysthymic Disorder can be distinguished from major depressive disorder by an early onset, usually beginning in childhood or adolescence until reaching the 20’s. Although late onset occurs, it is less prevalent, especially among middle aged and geriatric patients.

The Dysthymia can occur as a secondary complication of other psychiatric disorders. The core concept of Dysthymic Disorder refers to a sub-affective or sub-clinical depressive disorder (i.e. being depressed) with:

  • Low grade chronicity of at least 2 years;
  • Insidious onset, with origin often in childhood and adolescence; and
  • Persistent or intermittent course. 2

Could You Have Dysthymic Disorder?

Dysthymic Disorder Topics

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