Persistent Depressive Disorder

What is Persistent Depressive Disorder?

Persistent Depressive Disorder is a chronic form of depression that is also called Dysthymia. This condition may last for years and significantly impact relationships and daily life. You may feel gloomy or incapable of having fun.

What are the symptoms of Persistent Depressive Disorder?

  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Sadness, emptiness, or feeling down
  • Hopelessness
  • Fatigue
  • Low self-esteem or feeling incapable
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Irritability 
  • Decreased activity and productivity
  • Avoidance of social activities
  • Feelings guilty
  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Difficulty sleeping

What are the symptoms of Persistent Depressive Disorder in children?

  • Depressed mood
  • Irritability

What are the causes and risk factors associated with Persistent Depressive Disorder?

Persistent Depressive Disorder does not have one single cause and varies person to person. The following causes may contribute to the development of persistent depressive disorder:

  • Biological Factors such as brain differences or brain chemistry
  • Genetics
  • Life events such as trauma, financial problems, and high levels of stress

Several factors that may increase the risk of developing Persistent Depressive Disorder including:

  • Having a first-degree relative with a depressive disorder
  • Traumatic life events
  • Negative personality traits like low self-esteem, dependence, self-criticism, and pessimism
  • History of other mental disorders

What are the complications that are linked to Persistent Depressive Disorder?

  • Reduced quality of life
  • Development of other mood or anxiety disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Relationship and family conflict
  • School and work problems
  • Chronic pain and medical illnesses
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors

What are some strategies that may help lessen symptoms?

  • Controlling stress
  • Reaching out to loved ones
  • Getting treatment
  • Get enough sleep
  • Follow a healthy diet
  • Take medicines correctly and discuss side effects with your provider.
  • Learn to watch for early signs your PDD is getting worse
  • Look for activities that make you happy
  • Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs. They may make you feel worse.

What are treatment options for Persistent Depressive Disorder?

  • Medicines are often effective, although they sometimes do not work as well as they do for Major Depressive Disorder. Do not stop taking your medication without first consulting your healthcare provider.. 
  • Talk therapy is a good way to help you learn ways to deal with thoughts and feelings, as well as provide you with ways to cope with PDD. 
    • Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you learn to be aware of your symptoms and work on problem solving skills
    • Psychotherapy can help you understand factors that might be behind your depressive feelings
  • Joining a support group can help you find a community that understands what you are going through.

Read about what it’s like to have Persistent Depressive Disorder here.

Does my child have Persistent Depressive Disorder?

Children with PDD are often irritable, moody, or sad for a long period of time. They might exhibit behavior problems, have difficulty in school, or struggle with low self-esteem.

Read more about PDD in children here.

Additional Resources

Learn more about Persistent Depressive Disorder here

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