Think back to a time when you felt really great and really happy. If you have episodes of Depression, the answer might be a few months or years ago. If you have a condition called Dysthymia, the answer might sound more like “I’m not sure I’ve ever felt really happy”.
For those with Dysthymia, “it’s hard for them to recognize a period of time when they didn’t feel bad,” Dr. Tracey Marks, a general and forensic psychiatrist, explains in a video explaining the nature of Dysthymia. “That’s because the symptoms they experience are chronic and long lasting.”
As such, Dysthymia is often mistaken for high-functioning Depression. In 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV recategorized Dysthymia as Persistent Depressive Disorder.
As Dr. Marks quotes from the DSM IV, symptoms include a “depressed mode for most of the day, for more days than not, for at least two years”. Associated symptoms required for diagnosis include at least two of the following: poor appetite or overeating, insomnia or hypersomnia, low energy or fatigue, low self-esteem, poor concentration, or difficulty making decisions, feelings of hopelessness.
Dysthymia, like many mental health conditions, can be helped with a combination of medication and psychotherapy. If you think you may be suffering from it or a major depressive disorder, it’s always best to speak with a doctor. In the meantime, you can check out Dr. Tracey Marks on YouTube as she tackles many common mental health issues.