More than just grumpiness, dysthymia requires continued treatment
BY DR. KOMOROFF Universal Uclick
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
9/19/12 at 2:30 AM
Dear Doctor K: I was diagnosed with dysthymia. Can you tell me more about this condition? Is it the same as depression?
Dear Reader: Dysthymia is a form of depression. It is less severe than major depression but usually lasts longer.
During the course of a year, about two people out of every 100 will suffer from dysthymia. It is about twice as common in women as in men.
The symptoms of dysthymia are similar to those of major depression, but they tend to be less intense. In both conditions, a person can:
Dysthymia lasts for long periods, sometimes starting in childhood. As a result, a person with dysthymia tends to believe that depression is part of his or her character. He or she may not even think to talk about it with doctors, family or friends.
- Have a low or irritable mood.
- Experience a decrease in pleasure.
- Have low energy.
- Feel relatively unmotivated.
- Feel disengaged from the world.
- Experience an increase or decrease in appetite and weight.
- Sleep too much or have trouble sleeping.
- Have difficulty concentrating.
- Feel indecisive.
- Feel pessimistic.
- Have a poor self-image.
Treatment usually includes emotional support and education about depression. Cognitive behavioral therapy examines and helps correct faulty, self-critical thought patterns. Psychotherapy can help sort out conflicts in important relationships or explores the history behind the symptoms.
Antidepressants recommended for dysthymia are the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs such as fluoxetine); serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs such as venlafaxine); mirtazapine; and bupropion.
Your doctor may add a different type of drug - for example, a mood stabilizer or anti-anxiety medication.
Continued treatment is usually necessary to prevent symptoms from returning.
Write Dr. K at www.AskDoctorK.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut, Kansas City, MO 64106