Dysthymic Disorder

Dysthymia: low-grade chronic depression.

Do you find yourself depressed, angry and irritable for days on end? Do you have a tendency towards dark or sad moods? Are you prone to negative, pessimistic thinking even when the circumstances do not warrant it? These are common symptoms of a form of depression called Dysthymic Disorder.

Unlike situational depression that may have a clearly identified source, such as a divorce or job loss, dysthymic disorder is characterized by a long-term, low-grade depression that manifests as a gloomy, grumpy mood without apparent cause, as is seen in the Winnie the Pooh character Eeyore.

A diagnosis of dysthymia requires that the individual must have demonstrated at least two of the following symptoms for a period of at least two years:

  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia (oversleeping)
  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions
  • Feelings of hopelessness

Research has demonstrated that individuals diagnosed with dysthymic disorder are vulnerable to recurrent Major Depression. Therefore, early intervention and ongoing support are essential in preventing the development of this much more serious and potentially life-threatening form of depression.

Psychotherapy can be very helpful in treating dysthymic disorder by helping the patient explore the roots of their depression and to confront the underlying thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes that research has shown play a central role in the development and maintenance of depression.

Our professional staff is trained and experienced in assessing and treating dysthymia. Call us anytime to set up a free 15-minute phone consultation or use one of the forms on this page to submit a request for more information.

You have taken the first and most important step of change by considering counseling. We hope you will take the next step and do what so many others have found to be helpful in overcoming their depression.