What is Chronic Depression or Dysthymia? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

Dysthymia or chronic depression also goes by the name of persistent depressive disorder. Today, we’ll discuss what is chronic depression or dysthymia; its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is Chronic Depression? 

Chronic depression is mild and less severe than major depression, but it persists in the long-term roundabout for two years or more. People with the dysthymic condition also experience the major depressive episode, and experts call it double depression.

People with the dysthymic condition would have lower and inadequate feelings, lower self-esteem, limited productivity, hopeless feelings, and losing interest in the routine activities of life. The symptoms would disturb your daily routine life.

It’s difficult for people with dysthymic depressive conditions to find happy occasions, and people would describe them as complaining and incapable of enjoying and having a gloomy personality.

Commonness of Chronic Depression

According to an estimate by NIMH (national institute of mental health); dysthymic condition impacts roundabout 1.5% of the US people annually. Unlike major depressive conditions, dysthymia would make you feel good and keep performing well in your routine life. The dysthymic condition is more common among females.

Symptoms of Chronic Depression 

The symptoms of chronic depression persist for years, and their intensity level would change over time. Usually, the symptoms of dysthymic depressive episodes do not go away in two months. When the episode of major depressive condition occurs along with dysthymia, then it becomes double depression. Some of the main symptoms of chronic depression are as follows;

  • Suicide attempts, suicidal plans, and repetitive feelings of death and suicide
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Overeating and poor appetite
  • Worrying over something that happened in the past and guilty feelings
  • Avoiding the social gathering and other social activities
  • Lower productivity, effectiveness, and activity
  • Excessive anger and irritability
  • Difficulty in making the decision
  • Trouble in focusing and concentrating
  • Incapable feelings, self-criticism, and limited self-esteem
  • Limited energy and tiresome feelings
  • Hopelessness
  • Feeling down, emptiness, shallowness, and sadness
  • Losing interest in the daily routine activities

Causes of Chronic Depression 

Researchers don’t know the exact and precise causes for the development of chronic depression. Genetics plays a significant role to cause it. However, many people with depressive episodes don’t have a family history, and the other people with a family history of dysthymia don’t experience depression.

Abnormal brain structure and pathways of the nerve cell that connect different areas of the brain could manage your mood. Some of the main triggering factors that could amplify the chances of the development of dysthymia among biologically predisposed people are as follows;

  • Problems at work
  • Relationship issues
  • Side effects of medication
  • Chronic illness

Diagnosis of Chronic Depression 

Your doctor would diagnose dysthymia by analyzing your symptoms. Its symptoms last for a long period of time and they’re not as severe as the major depressive episode. Your doctor would analyze other physical symptoms to make sure that it’s not happening due to hypothyroidism.

If you’re feeling depressed and experiencing the symptoms of depression for more than two weeks, then you should consult with a therapist. Your doctor would examine you medically and rule out other conditions. The diagnosis of dysthymic condition doesn’t require any type of X-rays, blood, and other types of tests.

Treatment of Chronic Depression 

Chronic depression is a severe mental health condition, but it can be treatable with the right treatment plan. Early diagnosis of the condition with the right medication would help you to decrease the duration and intensity of the symptoms. Some of the main treatment plans are as follows;


Psychotherapy comprises counseling and talk therapy to treat dysthymia and other types of mood disorders. It teaches you self-coping techniques to deal with negative thought patterns and beliefs about yourself. However, the focus of psychotherapy is bringing healthy lifestyle habits with the help of medications. Some of the types of therapeutic approaches are as follows;

  • Support group comprising of people with dysthymic people and it would make you feel that you aren’t alone
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • One-on-one therapy


After analyzing your medical condition, physical health, and other types of symptoms, your doctor would prescribe your antidepressant medications. There are different types of antidepressants, and your therapist would prescribe them relevant to their condition.

In order for the antidepressants to work fully, it requires a lot of time and you have to be patient. When it comes to stopping the drug, you have to do it gradually in steps and follow the advice of your doctor. However, it’s important to mention the side effects of antidepressants, and work closely with your therapist if you’re experiencing them.

Conclusion: What is Chronic Depression or Dysthymia? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

After an in-depth study of what is chronic depression or dysthymia; its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment; we have realized that depression could badly disturb your life. if you’re experiencing it, then you should discuss it with your doctor.