Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD) is a mood disorder that can stay for a long period of time like two years. It causes a deep feeling of sadness and hopelessness affecting the behavior of a person, beliefs, and emotion.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

There are 300 million people suffering from mental health problems. It is important to address this issue because it is an unknown battle that we don’t notice from people. It comes in many forms like Persistent Depressive Disorder. These are complex disorders that anyone can get, happens anytime, and all over the globe.

World Health Organization shows that in every five adults one experience mental illness. And, like in every twenty-five people, there is one who experiences serious mental health issue. The estimated cost for mental health issues is US Dollar 1 trillion each year with a direct economic impact on personal income and work.

What is Persistent Depressive Disorder?

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD) is a mood disorder that can stay for a long period of time like two years. It causes a deep feeling of sadness and hopelessness affecting the behavior of a person, beliefs, and emotion. While this depressive mood experience is not as grave as other major depressive disorders. As a result, this condition makes sleeping, appetite, physical, and social activities difficult.

Data from the National Institute of Mental Health tells us that 1.5 percent of the American adult population have dysthymia or PDD, while 49.7 percent of that population are registered with serious dysthymia. It can influence children and adolescents too, as girls are more likely to experience Dysthymia than boys as it happens at the age of 13 to 18 years old.

How does it happen?

This disorder may take place its development as early as childhood to adulthood. It comes from a great deal of stress, medical illness, personal issues, work, and heredity. Experts say that a big influence that shapes people who have this disorder is the serotonin. A brain chemical that manages the feelings and organ system of the body. It sends signals to the brain’s nerve cells that impact brain function. Also, it’s a precursor of melatonin which is a hormone for sleep. When serotonin is at a low level it causes a person to feel a condition associated with depression, or depression.

Causes of Persistent Depressive Disorder

Although causes are hard to determine there are factors that contribute to the disorder. These conditions can be caused by biological and psychological origin. And understanding the causes of mental health disorders can treat these conditions at a higher rate of success.

  • Neurotransmitter Imbalance: neurotransmitters play a significant role in brain functions and emotions. They influence and sustain mood stability that affects sadness, happiness, and other feelings. It also touches on sleeping patterns, pleasure, and other areas of the brain.
  • Heredity: this is the passing of disorder from blood relatives with the same condition. Genetics is being thought to have a great impact on the condition in the family history. This could be any kind of histories like anxiety or bipolar disorder that can be linked with Dysthymia or PDD.
  • Life Situations: these are events that have caused difficulty and trauma to people. This could be stress at work, the death of a very close relative or friend, financial difficulty, and many more. These situations can trigger depressive disorders causing to feel tremendous sadness every day.
  • Personal Traits: these habits and beliefs from the environment a person grew up with. This is their views in life, experiences from peers, dependency, self-esteem, and many more.

Symptoms of Persistent Depressive Disorder

Persistent Depressive Disorder shows a negative change in the mood that happens the entire day or more. This a very low level of emotion that is evident from a person with Dysthymia. Here are some of the following symptoms:

  • Hopelessness: feeling despair and negative in all activities that are being done. This is a very bad sign for mental health as it may lead to further depression and suicide. It affects appetite, concentration, conscience, and a lot more.
  • Social Isolation: this is an environment that has a complete lack of contact, or very few contacts with individuals and groups. This could be a loss of enjoyment, not participating, and feels negative about activities.
  • Depressive mood: this is a normal reaction to an event that occurred. This is also considered as a symptom of physical illnesses and an effect from medications. Depressive mood can vary, but the longer it takes to maintain in this emotional condition the worst it gets and prone to develop as a disorder. ¬†
  • Insomnia: this is the difficulty of sleeping may it be falling asleep or staying asleep. It is influenced by stress, anxiety, and depression, it can also make a big impact on these influencers.

Treatments for  Persistent Depressive Disorder

Medical treatment and attention is a priority to improve the overall condition and get a better outcome. Providing emotional and physical support is a key to progress so as combining it with medication treatments. Here are some of the treatments used to for Dysthymia:


Psychotherapy is the process of treating mental disorders with psychological and verbal techniques. This is where the therapist uses thoughts and feelings to connect with the patient. Understanding emotions by determining thoughts and behaviors that trigger the disorder. This usually happens one on one or by a group. Talking with a group gives the patient freedom and confidence as it improves themselves positively.


In treating Dysthymia antidepressants are used. A medical professional will prescribe the appropriate medication after assessment. Dosages and changing medication may be done according to results.

Some samples of Antidepressants:

  • Prozac (Fluoxetine): this is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It treats depression, panic disorder, bulimia and many more.
  • Duloxetine: this is a medication for generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder.

Change of Lifestyle

Doing changes and adapting to what will make life more healthy is important. Dysthymia is a long term problem that needs a long term solution. By changing aspects of the lifestyle can give back confidence, health, and positivity to the body and mind. Avoiding drugs, alcohol, regular exercise, eating healthy foods is a great start.

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