Washington Center for Women's and Children's Wellness (WCWCW)
Child, Adolescent, Women’s & Reproductive Psychiatry located in Bethesda, MD and offering Telehealth appointments in Maryland, Virginia, DC, Florida and Michigan
Dysthymia is a prolonged type of depression that lasts for many years. At WCWCW in Bethesda, Maryland, our highly experienced mental health professionals offer expert treatments for dysthymia. While it’s not as severe as major depressive disorder, dysthymia can have a significant impact on your life. Let us help. Call our office today or book an appointment online. We provide the same high-quality service via telehealth for patients living in Maryland, DC, Virginia, Michigan, and Florida.
Dysthymia Q & A
What is dysthymia?
Dysthymia is a chronic form of depression that’s also known as persistent depressive disorder. Depression is a mood disorder that affects you physically and mentally. It can be mild or develop into such a severe form that it becomes life-threatening.
With dysthymia, the depression never really goes away. People with dysthymia may experience major depression at times and continue to have a milder depression in between.
Women are twice as likely to get dysthymia as men. Just like other kinds of depression, dysthymia isn’t a condition you can shake off or wish away. It requires expert treatment, which WCWCW can provide.
What causes dysthymia?
There’s no clear-cut cause for dysthymia. However, it’s most likely to relate to chemical imbalances in your brain. Many things in your life can influence your risk of developing dysthymia, including:
- Your environment
- Psychological makeup
- Chronic stress
- Traumatic experiences
Inherited genetic tendencies could also have an influence, as dysthymia seems to run in families. However, as yet, no one has identified specific genes linked to dysthymia.
What symptoms does dysthymia cause?
Dysthymia is long-lasting but typically milder than major depression. While your symptoms won’t exactly match those of other people, they could include:
- Persistent sadness, anxiety, and emptiness
- Low self-esteem
- Reduced ability to focus, think clearly, and make decisions
- Low energy levels or chronic fatigue
- Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
- Over- or under-eating
- Changes in sleep patterns
Insomnia, restless sleep, and early morning awakening are problems for some people with dysthymia. For others, it’s sleeping too much.
How is dysthymia diagnosed?
Your psychiatrist carries out a careful psychiatric assessment and reviews your medical history. That is important because dysthymia can exist alongside illnesses like cancer and heart disease. Your symptoms might also be due to other mental health conditions.
For your psychiatrist at WCWCW to diagnose dysthymia, you must have been depressed for at least two years if you’re an adult or one year for children and adolescents. You must also be experiencing at least two of the symptoms listed above.
Receiving an accurate diagnosis ensures you get the treatment you need to overcome dysthymia.
How is dysthymia treated?
The treatment your psychiatrist at WCWCW prescribes could include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Interpersonal therapy
- Tricyclic antidepressant medications
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
It can take 4-6 weeks to feel the benefits of your medication. Sometimes, people need to try different antidepressants to get results.
Our specialists at WCWCW in Bethesda, Maryland, offer the supportive care you need to overcome the challenges of dysthymia. Call our office or book an appointment online. We provide the same high-quality service via telehealth for patients living in Maryland, DC, Virginia, Michigan, and Florida.