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Persistent Depressive Disorder

What is Persistent Depressive Disorder?

The National Institute of Mental health estimates that such disorder affects 1.5% of the adult population in the United States and about 11.2% of the population between 13 to 18 years of age. Although it is not as severe as major depression, Persistent Depressive Disorder or dysthymia, is a chronic ongoing type of depression. Individuals who have such disorder lose interest in their daily life activities and in most cases, they also have a hard time being “upbeat” even when a happy occasion is presented. It is important to note that such feelings can last for years and that it is believed that girls are more likely to experience any type of depressive disorder than boys.

Other symptoms:

  • Feel hopeless, sadness, emptiness, and are constantly feeling down
  • There is a lack of energy & are tired
  • Have low self-esteem, self-criticism, or may feel incapable of doing tasks, for example
  • Have a hard time concentrating and making decisions
  • Excessive anger and irritability
  • There is a decrease in activity, effectiveness, and productivity
  • Avoid social activities
  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Often have feelings of guilt
  • Worry over the past
  • Have trouble sleeping

It is also important to note that such symptoms can cause a significant impairment on individuals and that they usually come and go over a period of years. However, systems usually don’t tend to disappear for more than two months.

What causes Persistent Depressive Disorder?

Although there is not one known exact cause, it is believed that biological differences, brain chemistry, inherited traits, and life events may have an influence in the development of the disorder.  It is believed that people who suffer from persistent depressive disorder experience physical changes in their brains. Also, an individual is more likely to develop the disorder if someone in their family has previously been diagnosed with it as well as a loss of a loved one, financial problems, or high stress can also play a role in the development. An individuals’ negativity, their low self-esteem and being too dependent of others may also contribute to the risk factors of such disorders.

What effect does it have in an individual’s life?

  • Reduction in quality life
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Chronic pain along with general medical illnesses
  • Difficulty forming relationships with family and friends
  • Substance abuse
  • May cause other depressive disorders

How can I reduce the chances of developing Persistent Depressive Disorder?

Although for some people there will not be a way to prevent such disorder, for others there may be. It is important for an individual to take control of the stress they experience and learn how to cope with it. Also, reach out to friends and family, start receiving treatment the moment you begin to see signs, and consider keeping such treatment for a while.

How can it be treated and what can I do for myself?

  • Seek help from your primary care physical
  • Keep a log of your systems for a few weeks so that your doctor can get a better understanding
  • Establish a sleep pattern
  • Exercise daily
  • Take care of what you eat
  • Practice self-care
  • Medication (i.e. SSRIs, TCAs and SNRIs)
  • Psychotherapy (main recommendation for children and adolescents)
    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
    • Family Therapy
    • Group therapy
    • Process Oriented Talk Therapy
  • Benefits of Psychotherapy:
    • Learn how to manage the symptoms and crisis
    • Identify the triggers and learn coping strategies
    • Replace negative beliefs with positive ones
    • Improve your self-esteem
    • Setting and attaining personal goals