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What is Dysthymic Disorder and How to Deal With It?

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Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. Estimated that at least 20 million American adults have experienced depression this year. Depression is problematic for many people. But did you know there are various forms of depression? There’s Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) which is the most common. There is Bipolar Disorder (BD) which is characterized by extreme highs and lows in mood. And then there is Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD), a long-lasting form of depression. Among the three, PDD, or Dysthymic disorder, is considered the most challenging to control. Here’s what you need to know about it.

Symptoms of PDD

PDD is a chronic form of depression that lasts for two years or longer. It’s characterized by low mood, loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy, fatigue, and low self-esteem. People with PDD may also have trouble concentrating, making decisions, and sleeping. Unlike other forms of depression, PDD can happen the longest and can tear down a person from the inside.

Causes of PDD

The exact cause of PDD is unknown. But studies have found different possible reasons for it. The first is genetics.


Genetics plays a role in all forms of depression. But studies have found that people with PDD are more likely to have a family member with the disorder.

Brain Chemistry

Depression is linked to certain chemicals in the brain. These include neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine. People with PDD may have a problem with how these chemicals work.


Changes in hormone levels can also lead to depression. This is especially true for women during hormonal changes, such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.

Stressful Life Events

Stressful life events can trigger PDD. These can include a lot of things, such as divorce or loss. But it can also depend on the resilience of the person.

How is PDD Diagnosed?

If you think you may have PDD, make an appointment with your doctor. They will ask you about your symptoms and how long you’ve been experiencing them. You may also be asked about your family history and any stressful life events you’ve recently experienced.

Your doctor will also do a physical exam to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms. These may include thyroid problems or anemia. If your doctor suspects you have PDD, they may refer you to a mental health specialist for further evaluation.

Explanation Why PDD Exists


The cognitive perspective on PDD holds that people with this disorder have negative biases in their thinking. They see the world through a “glass half empty” lens and experience what’s known as cognitive distortions. These distortions include things like all-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralization, and mental filtering.


The experiential perspective on PDD posits that negative life experiences cause this disorder. This could include things like trauma, abuse, or neglect. It’s believed that these experiences lead to feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy.

Treatment for PDD

If you’re struggling with PDD, know that you’re not alone. There are treatments available that can help. The first is ketamine treatment.


Ketamine is a new antidepressant that’s showing promise in treating PDD. It’s thought to work by restoring balance to the neurotransmitters in the brain. Ketamine is available as an IV infusion or nasal spray. However, it’s required that you get a check-up first. You can do this by visiting a Ketamine clinic near you. They can check your vitals and whether you qualify for such a treatment. Your next option is talk therapy.

Talk Therapy

Talk therapy, also known as counseling or psychotherapy, is a form of treatment that involves talking to a therapist about your thoughts and feelings. This can help you identify negative thinking patterns and learn new ways of coping with stress. Talk therapy is an effective treatment for PDD and can be done in individual or group settings. Another option is joining a support group.

Support Group

Support groups provide a safe space for people with PDD to share their experiences and connect with others who understand what they’re going through. These groups can offer emotional support and practical advice. You can find a support group online or contact your local mental health association. Lastly, feel free to ask for help from friends or family members.

Ask for Help

Friends and family can be excellent sources of support if you’re struggling with PDD. They can offer practical help, such as picking up groceries or taking care of the kids. They can also provide emotional support just by listening to you and being there for you. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it. There are also hotlines you can call if you need someone to talk to outside your immediate support system.

There are many treatment options available for PDD. If you’re struggling with this disorder, reach out for help. With the right treatment, you can start to feel better.


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