What To Do If You Have Dysthymic Disorder
An estimated 40% of people worldwide suffer from dysthymic disorder, and more than 3 million people each year are diagnosed with the disorder in the United States. Better known as persistent depressive disorder or chronic depression, those who suffer from dysthymic disorder may feel hopeless and in disbelief that their intense, long term feelings of depression will ever go away. However, with a proper diagnosis and medical attention, there are treatment options available which can offer hope to those who suffer from this chronic condition.
What Is Dysthymic Disorder?
Dysthymic disorder is a form of depressive disorder, in which those who suffer experience persistent feelings of depression. Sufferers may experience a lack of joy, a disinterest in activities which they once enjoyed, a lack of productivity and low self-esteem.
This disorder can lead to physical health issues, as those with depressive disorders may have difficulty getting adequate hours of sleep, and they also may adopt unhealthy eating habits, such as overeating or not eating enough due to a loss of appetite.
How Is Dysthymic Disorder Diagnosed?
Many people who suffer from depression believe that they are stuck feeling depressed for the rest of their lives. Because of this, many who suffer from dysthymic disorder never seek medical help. However, with a proper medical diagnosis, a professional can work with you to find a treatment option to alleviate your symptoms.
To diagnose dysthymic disorder, doctors may first schedule a physical exam to rule out underlying physical problems which may be causing your depression. Your doctor will then schedule a psychological evaluation, in which they will ask you a number of questions about your thoughts, feelings and behaviors to see if you meet the criteria for dysthymic disorder.
For a proper psychological diagnosis, your doctor must refer to the list of symptoms in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a manual which outlines the symptoms of each psychological condition.
How Is Dysthymic Disorder Treated?
Like most psychological disorders, dysthymic disorder can be treated in two ways: through psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, in which a patient meets with a therapist regularly to tackle their negative feelings, or through medication, in which the doctor prescribes the patient medicine which will alter the brain’s chemistry to alleviate the symptoms.
Your doctor will decide which treatment is best for you depending on the severity of your symptoms, as well as your personal preference. From there, your doctor will moderate your progress and work with you to ensure that you are getting the most effective treatment for your individual needs.
While those who suffer from dysthymic disorder may feel hopeless about recovery, the truth is that there are treatment options that have been proven to provide long term relief. If you feel that you may have dysthymic disorder, tell your doctor about your symptoms and allow them to work with you to find a solution that works.