Persistent depressive disorder, also called dysthymia, is a form of chronic depression, with symptoms less severe but longer lasting than other forms of depression. It is a new diagnosis that combines two earlier diagnoses: dysthymia and chronic major depressive episode. Since symptoms are less acute than major depressive disorder, it may go unnoticed for some time.

Symptoms of persistent depressive disorder:

  • Irritability or a depressed mood most of the time for more than a year
  • Inability to take pleasure and perform well in the activities of daily life
  • Behavior problems
  • Poor performance at school
  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty interacting with other children in social situations
  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Persistent tiredness or lack of energy
  • Hopelessness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Difficulty making decisions

Treatment and Prognosis

Treatment for persistent depressive disorder include medications and psychotherapy. A combination of the two is believed to be the most effective treatment. Psychotherapy includes cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy. Medications include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).

Read more about treatment for depression.

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