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Dysthymia: depression that disguises itself as a bad temper

Dysthymia: depression that disguises itself as a bad temper
Do you usually get upset over small things? Are you angry or do you tend to maintain an irritable or depressed mood? Do you have difficulty finding the positive things in life? Do you live with a bad temper or sadness almost permanently? Does your family Complains that you're a killjoy, negative pessimist or troublemaker? Perhaps, you have been seeing life through black and white glasses for so long that those around you, and even yourself, think that this is your “way of being.” This has probably generated rejection from others. But even if you think you're simply bad-tempered, you most likely suffer from dysthymia: a chronic and fairly common mood disorder.

What is dysthymia or persistent depressive disorder?

Dysthymia, also called dysthymic disorder, is defined as a type of affective or mood disorder that often resembles a less severe, but more chronic, form of major depression. However, people who have dysthymia may also sometimes experience episodes of major depression.

Depression is a depressive disorder that affects the body, mood and thoughts. It can radically affect or alter eating, sleeping and the way you think, but it is not the same as feeling sad or down, nor is it an indication of personal weakness nor does it constitute a state that can dissipate or be modified at will. People who suffer from a depressive illness cannot simply "pull themselves together" and recover. Treatment is often necessary and sometimes even decisive for recovery.

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Generally, when the word depression is mentioned to us, we refer to the so-called major depressive episode, and we ignore the other forms of presentation of depressive symptoms.

There are three types of depression that can be classified into three main groups:

  • major depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Dysthymia

Who is affected by dysthymia?

Dysthymia occurs in 5-6% of the general population. It is more common in women under 64 years of age compared to men of any age.

What are the symptoms of dysthymia?

The most common symptoms of dysthymia, which are less severe but more chronic than those of major depression. However, each individual may experience them differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Persistent sadness, anxiety, or a feeling of "emptiness."
  • Loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyed.
  • Excessive crying.
  • Increased restlessness and irritability.
  • Less ability to concentrate and make decisions.
  • Decrease in energy.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts.
  • Increased feelings of guilt, helplessness, and/or hopelessness.
  • Alterations in weight and/or appetite due to insufficient or excessive eating.
  • Alterations in sleep habits.
  • Social isolation.
  • Physical symptoms that do not respond to standard treatments (for example, chronic pain, headache).

For a diagnosis of dysthymia, an adult must have depressed mood for at least two years (one year in children and adolescents), along with at least two other symptoms of depression (listed above). The symptoms of dysthymia may resemble those of other psychiatric disorders. Always consult your doctor for diagnosis.

How is dysthymia diagnosed?

Because depression has often been found to coexist with other medical illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes, as well as other psychiatric disorders such as substance abuse and anxiety, early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for recovery. . The diagnosis is often made after a thorough psychiatric examination and medical history by a psychiatrist or other mental health professional.

Always remember to consult a doctor.

Treatment of dysthymia.

Specific treatment for dysthymia will be determined by your doctor based on the following:

  • Your age, general health, and medical history.
  • How advanced the disorder is.
  • Your tolerance to certain medications, procedures or therapies.
  • Your expectations for the trajectory of the disorder.
  • Your opinion or preference.

Treatment may include any of the following or a combination of them:

  • Antidepressant medications (especially when given in combination with psychotherapy, are very effective in treating depression).
  • Psychotherapy (in most cases, cognitive-behavioral or interpersonal therapy aimed at modifying the distorted view that the individual has of himself and his environment, with emphasis on complicated relationships and the identification of stress factors in the environment to learn to avoid them).
  • Electroconvulsive therapy.

Since episodes of dysthymia often persist for more than five years, long-term treatment may be necessary.

Remember that prevention is better than cure
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