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Dysthymic Disorder

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 31, 2022.

What is dysthymic disorder?

Dysthymic disorder, or dysthymia, is a type of depression that occurs over a long period of time. Dysthymia may affect how you get along with your family, friends, or other people. It may also affect your daily activities at work, home, or school.

What are the signs and symptoms of dysthymia?

  • Feeling sad or unhappy most of the time
  • Constant feelings of worry, negativity, or hopelessness
  • Fatigue or having a hard time enjoying activities
  • Trouble concentrating, thinking clearly, or making decisions
  • Not eating enough or overeating
  • Not able to sleep or sleeping too much
  • A poor self-image or thinking of yourself as a failure

How is dysthymic disorder diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about what symptoms you have and how long you have had them. He or she will ask you if you drink alcohol or take illegal drugs.

How is dysthymic disorder treated?

  • Medicines are given to improve your mood.
  • Behavior therapy will help you learn how to improve your mood and feel better about yourself. You will work with providers alone or in a group. Therapy may also be done with family members or a significant other.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

How can I manage dysthymic disorder?

  • Limit alcohol. Ask your provider how much alcohol is safe for you to drink. Women should limit alcohol to 1 drink a day. Men should limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.
  • Do not smoke. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask for information if you need help quitting.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You cannot make it to your next appointment with your provider.
  • You have new or worsening symptoms.
  • You feel you are unable to cope with your sadness.
  • Your symptoms prevent you from doing many of your daily activities.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • You have thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else.
  • You have trouble breathing, chest pain, or a fast heartbeat.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Learn more about Dysthymic Disorder

Treatment options

Care guides

Symptoms and treatments

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.