General Practice 2022

Dysthymia: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment (with online test)

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Dysthymia: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment (with online test)
Dysthymia: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment (with online test)

Dysthymia is a type of chronic, disabling depression that has mild to moderate symptoms of sadness, emptiness, or unhappiness. The main characteristic of dysthymia is daily irritability, which lasts for at least 2 years in a row, in adults, or 1 year, in children and adolescents.

People with dysthymia, or "bad mood disease" as it is also known, can still develop multiple severe depressive episodes over time, making it difficult to identify what led to this more pronounced depressive state.

Dysthymia can be diagnosed by a psychiatrist in conjunction with a psychologist through the person's report and observation of symptoms.From there, the most appropriate treatment will be advised, which can be done with the use of antidepressant drugs and psychotherapy.

Main signs and symptoms

The signs and symptoms of dysthymia can be confused with those of other psychological disorders, and what differentiates them is the presence of bad mood and irritability that does not improve, even if the person has moments where it would be possible to feel pleasure or personal achievement.

Other signs and symptoms that can be observed in dysthymia are:

  • Recurrent negative thoughts;
  • Feeling of hopelessness;
  • Low or excess appetite;
  • Lack of energy or fatigue;
  • Social isolation;
  • Dissatisfaction;
  • Insomnia;
  • Easy cry;
  • Difficulty concentrating.

In some cases there may be poor digestion, muscle pain and headache. If you have two or more symptoms of dysthymia, this test can help clarify whether you have the disorder or not:

Illustrative image of the questionnaire Illustrative image of the question
  • No, never.
  • Yes, but this is not very often.
  • Yes, almost every week.
  • No, when others are happy, so am I.
  • Yes, I often get moody.
  • Yes, I don't know what a good mood is.
  • No, I never criticize anyone.
  • Yes, but my criticisms are constructive and indispensable.
  • Yes, I'm very critical, I don't miss an opportunity to criticize and I'm very proud of it.
  • No, I never complain about anything and my life is a bed of roses.
  • Yes, I complain when I think it's necessary or I'm too tired.
  • Yes, I tend to complain about everything and everyone, almost daily.
  • No, never.
  • Yes, I often wish I was somewhere else.
  • Yes, I'm rarely satisfied with things and I wish I was doing something else more interesting.
  • No, only when I'm really working hard.
  • Yes, I often feel tired even if I haven't done anything all day.
  • Yes, I feel tired every day, even when I'm on vacation.
  • No, I'm quite optimistic and I can see the bright side of things.
  • Yes, I have some difficulty finding the good side of something bad.
  • Yes, I'm a pessimist and I always think that everything will go wrong, even if there is a lot of effort involved.
  • I sleep well and I find that I have a restful sleep.
  • I like to sleep, but sometimes I have trouble falling asleep.
  • I don't think I get enough rest, sometimes I sleep long hours, sometimes I have trouble sleeping well.
  • No, I never worry about that.
  • Yes, I often feel that I am wronged.
  • Yes, I'm almost always thinking: This isn't fair.
  • No, never.
  • Yes, I often feel lost and don't know what to decide.
  • Yes, I often have trouble making up my mind and need help from others.
  • No, never because I enjoy being with family or friends.
  • Yes, but only when I get upset.
  • Yes, almost always because it is very difficult for me to be with other people.
  • No, never.
  • Yes, many times.
  • Yes, I almost always get angry and upset with everything and everyone.
  • No, never.
  • Yes, sometimes.
  • Yes, almost always.
  • No, never.
  • Yes, many times.
  • Yes, almost always.
  • No, never.
  • Yes, many times.
  • Yes, almost always.
  • No, never.
  • Yes, many times.
  • Yes, almost always.
  • No, never.
  • Yes, many times.
  • Yes, almost always.
  • No, never.
  • Yes, many times.
  • Yes, almost always.
  • No, never.
  • Yes, many times.
  • Yes, almost always.

Possible causes

The causes of dysthymia are not fully known, but it is suspected that it may be related to environmental, emotional, trauma, hormonal changes in the brain and even genetic factors, such as having more than one person in the family affected by the disorder.

Furthermore, the individual's temperament and day-to-day stressful situations can influence and worsen dysthymia, leading to the development of major depression. Know the signs of major depression and how to treat it.

How the diagnosis is made

The diagnosis must be made by the psychiatrist or psychologist through observation of symptoms and reports about the person's behavior. Constant depressed mood must be present for at least 2 years.

Due to the fact that it is difficult to identify the symptoms, since dysthymia is not as serious as depression, that is, the intensity of the symptoms is milder, combined with the fact that it can be confused with a disorder of anxiety, for example, the diagnosis can be even more complicated, causing the person not to receive treatment early.

How treatment is done

Treatment for dysthymia is done through psychotherapy sessions and in some cases, with the use of antidepressant drugs, such as fluoxetine, sertraline, venlafaxine or imipramine, under the prescription and guidance of a psychiatrist, who will help with the body's hormonal disorder, if necessary for treatment.

Psychotherapy sessions are of great help in cases of dysthymia, especially cognitive behavioral therapy, as the person trains to find the circumstances that trigger the symptoms of dysthymia and thus structure an appropriate emotional response for each situation, by reflection of the advantages of facing problems with realistic thoughts.

Lifestyle and home remedies

Lifestyle change is not a substitute for psychiatric and psychological treatment, but it can be a complement, as self-care actions and the person's commitment, such as following the treatment plan proposed by the professional, learning deeply about the disorder, avoiding the consumption of alcohol and recreational drugs and making use of meditative practices have excellent results for psychological issues, such as dysthymia.

In addition, using home remedies such as valerian, chamomile, melissa and lavender teas, which are natural tranquilizers, can help reduce the symptoms caused by dysthymia, it is also one of the alternatives to complement the treatment. However, it is important to inform the psychiatrist that you intend to use teas, and to consult a herbalist so that the correct dose necessary to obtain the expected effect can be indicated. See how to prepare teas with calming properties.

Home remedies do not replace medical and psychotherapeutic treatment and, therefore, should only be used as a complement.

Is bad mood disease curable?

Dysthymia is curable and can be achieved with the use of antidepressant medication prescribed by a psychiatrist and with the follow-up of a psychologist. The treatment of dysthymia is done individually and therefore it is not possible to stipulate a minimum or maximum time for duration.

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