Dysthymia, also called persistent depressive disorder, is a chronic form of depression characterized by a lack of motivation, feelings of hopelessness, low self-worth and overall unhappiness. While dysthymia is typically not as severe as major depressive disorder, it lasts longer. Its relentlessness can take the joy out of life, leaving you feeling fatigued, irritable and empty.
Dysthymic Disorder Symptoms
Dysthymia is more common among women, but it can also affect men. Dysthymic disorder characteristics include:
- Sleeping or eating too much or too little
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Avoiding social activities
- Loss of energy and enthusiasm
- A consistently pessimistic, self-defeating attitude
- Ongoing guilt about past events or worries about the future
What Causes Dysthymia?
There is no single cause of persistent depressive disorder. Instead, it results from a combination of factors, like your environment, biological factors and changes in brain chemistry. Chronic stress and trauma can also contribute to this condition.
Dysthymia seems to run in families, but researchers have not discovered any genes linked to it. Dysthymic disorder often co-occurs with other chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, substance abuse or anxiety. A combined substance use disorder and mental illness is a dual diagnosis, and requires treating both components simultaneously.
Persistent Depressive Disorder Treatment
While persistent depressive disorder responds well to treatment, many people never seek help. In some cases, hopelessness and a lack of motivation may make men feel they don’t deserve to get better. Many people also mistakenly believe their dysthymia symptoms are part of their personality, and therefore something they can’t improve.
If you have been sluggish or apathetic, some small lifestyle changes can help you start feeling more like yourself again. For example, spending time in nature, volunteering in your community, exercising more and playing with pets can all release feel-good brain chemicals that naturally improve your mood.
You can also visit your doctor for a screening if you struggle with the symptoms of persistent depressive disorder. Though a depression screening is not a substitute for a formal diagnosis from a mental health professional, it can be a beneficial first step in identifying signs of an underlying issue and determining an effective treatment plan.
Gender-Specific Programming in Orange County
PACE Recovery Center is a men’s-only rehab offering personalized treatment plans for our clients. We help men manage difficult emotions, learn healthy coping skills, identify substance use triggers and plan for aftercare. Our accredited team of physicians, doctorate-level clinicians and drug and alcohol counselors provides evidence-based therapies for addiction, mood and personality disorders and mental health conditions.
Achieving sustained sobriety is about more than abstaining from alcohol and drugs. It’s about feeling empowered with the skills you need to live a fulfilling life. We understand the societal expectations placed on men to be stoic and never display emotions. That’s why we provide a safe, nonjudgmental place where you can express your feelings and form a brotherhood with others who have faced similar challenges. To learn more about our accreditations and verify your insurance coverage, reach out to us today.