AskDefine | Define dysthymia

Dictionary Definition

dysthymia n : mild chronic depression; "I thought she had just been in a bad mood for thirty years, but the doctor called it dysthymia" [syn: dysthymic depression]

User Contributed Dictionary



From δυσ- + θυμός


  1. A tendency to be depressed, without hope.
  2. One form of clinical depression, characterized by low-grade depression which lasts at least 2 years.


Derived terms


tendency to be depressed (1)
  • French: dysthymie
  • Greek: δυσθυμία
form of clinical depression (2)
  • French: dysthymie
  • Greek: δυσθυμία

Extensive Definition

Dysthymia (pronounced /dɪsˈθaɪmiə/) is a mood disorder that falls within the depression spectrum. It is considered a less severe condition than major depression. Dysthymic disorder is generally thought to be a chronic depression. According to the APA, DSM-IV (2000), two or more of six possible symptoms must be present for a diagnosis of dysthymia. These symptoms include poor appetite or overeating, insomnia or hypersomnia, low energy or fatigue, low self-esteem, poor concentration or difficulty making decisions, and feelings of hopelessness. An individual must experience symptoms for at least two years and should have no longer than a two-month period without symptoms being present. These symptoms must result in clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, academic, or other major areas of functioning (APA, 2000). This disorder tends to be a chronic, long-lasting illness.. Other new anti-depressants include bupropion (Wellbutrin), venlafaxine (Effexor), mirtazapine (Remeron), and duloxetine (Cymbalta).
There may be side effects of medication. SSRIs can cause nausea and problems with sexual functioning. They can cause anxiety to increase in the early stages of treatment and lead to apathy in the long run. Concerns about the increased risk of suicide have led the U.S Food and drug administration to advise many anti-depressant manufacturers to put prominent warning labels on their products. The scientific community has not found that anti-depressants increase suicide risk, but a small number of people using the medications feel strikingly worse rather than better when they take them. You should immediately report all troubling changes to your doctor and keep all follow-up appointments. Remember the risk of leaving depression untreated is far greater than the risk of treatment with an anti-depressant.
It usually takes two to six weeks of anti-depressant use to see improvement. The dose may have to be adjusted. Often it will take up to a few months for the full positive effect to be seen. Sometimes two different anti-depressant medications are prescribed together, or your doctor may combine a mood stabilizer or anti-anxiety medication with an anti-depressant. The type of psychotherapy that will help depends on a number of factors, including the nature of any stressful events, the availability of family and other social support, and personal preference. Therapy should include education about depression. Support is essential. Cognitive behavioral therapy is designed to examine and help correct faulty, self-critical thought patterns and correct the cognitive distortions that persons with mood disorders commonly experience. Psychodynamic, insight-oriented or interpersonal psychotherapy can help a person sort out conflicts in important relationships or explore the history behind the symptoms. sds

See also


dysthymia in Czech: Dystymie
dysthymia in German: Dysthymie
dysthymia in Modern Greek (1453-): Δυσθυμία
dysthymia in Spanish: Distimia
dysthymia in French: Dysthymie
dysthymia in Italian: Distimia
dysthymia in Hebrew: דיסתימיה
dysthymia in Dutch: Dysthyme stoornis
dysthymia in Polish: Dystymia
dysthymia in Portuguese: Distimia
dysthymia in Russian: Дистимия
dysthymia in Finnish: Dystymia
dysthymia in Swedish: Dystymi
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1