Dysthymia

Dysthymia a mild-to-moderate depression that may go away during periods of normal mood that last up to two months.

  • Causes

    The cause of dysthymia is not known. A chemical in the brain called serotonin may play a role.

    Brainstem—Location of Serotonin Production
    Brainstem and brain
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • Definition


    Dysthymia a mild-to-moderate
    depression
    that may go away during periods of normal mood that last up to two months.

  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical and psychological exam will be given.

    Your doctor may refer you to a specialist for further evaluation. Tests may be done to look for medical causes like thyroid problems or anemia.

  • Prevention

    There are no guidelines for preventing dysthymia.

  • Risk Factors

    Dysthymia is more common in women than in men. Factors that may increase your chance of developing dysthymia include:

    • Family history of major depression or dysthymia
    • Chronic mental or physical illness
    • Chronic stress
    • Environmental factors

    People who have dysthymia may also experience episodes of major depression.

  • Symptoms

    Dysthymia may be difficult to differentiate from depression due to many overlapping symptoms, which may include:

    • Feelings of sadness and/or hopelessness
    • Poor appetite or overeating
    • Trouble concentrating
    • Difficulty sleeping
      or sleeping too much
    • Fatigue

    • Low
      self-esteem
    • Difficulty functioning at work and school

  • Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment may include one or more of the following: