Dysthymia: the disease of bad mood

Dysthymia is compromised with global functioning, but not to the point of severe depression.

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LatinAmerican Post | Licda. Frannellys Medina

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According to the World Health Organization, among mental disorders in Latin America and the Caribbean, depression is the most common (5%), followed by anxiety disorders (3.4%), dysthymia (1.7% ), obsessive-compulsive disorder (1.4%), panic disorder and non-affective psychosis (1% each), and bipolar disorder (0.8%). This mood disorder characterized by depression and apathy affects at least 180 million people in the world

On the other hand, Neyda Duarte Medical Psychiatrist, graduated from the University of the Andes of Venezuela, currently in practice for the mental health clinic of Santiago de Cali (Colombia) comments, that before knowing about dysthymia it is necessary to define what is the sadness.

Sadness, is considered as a basic emotion of the human being in the face of difficult circumstances of life or some painful situation, however sadness is usually temporary "It is an emotion that comes and goes, does not stay, is temporary and is not a disease is not the same as being sad than having depression, sadness is a symptom of depression,” she says.

Likewise, Duarte defines dysthymia as a type of depressive disorder, which can occur from childhood to adulthood, and it usually lasts for at least 2 years in adults while in adolescents and children, it lasts for 1 year.

The term "dysthymia" comes from the Greek Greek "dis" which is translated as difficult, was coined by psychiatry expert James H. Kocsis of the Cornell University of the United States during the 1970s and introduced by the American Association of Psychiatry in 1980.

Why is it confused with a bad mood?

Likewise, the specialist comments, that when talking about depression refers to a pathology, which in turn leads to a series of symptoms within the clinical picture, among them are observed:

  • Sad mood
  • Self-esteem compromised
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyed.
  • Greater restlessness and irritability
  • Less ability to concentrate and make decisions.
  • Decrease in energy
  • Negative or suicidal thoughts
  • Increased feelings of hopelessness
  • Alterations in weight and, or appetite due to eating insufficiently or excessively
  • Alterations in sleep habits
  • Irritability

The latter, confused on several occasions with a bad mood, phrases like “I'm no good, I am not worth it, everything goes wrong, I do not want to leave, it is not worth it, it shows a negative feeling, reflected every day, all day during the less 2 years or much more, which makes it related to the term in a bad mood, explains the expert.

It should be noted that dysthymia is compromised with global functioning, but not to the point of severe depression, in this case, the person can continue to function, but with difficulty that is, the patient continues to make his life discouraged.

What does a person with dysthymia look like?

This is how, like this type of symptoms, it causes the person to be described, as someone negative, pessimistic, angry, which in some way reinforces and causes the affective condition to worsen within the family.

The specialist points out that although there is still no specific cause that generates the appearance of dysthymia, there are several factors that influence. Among them are physical situations or modifications at the brain level, blood chemistry transmitters, life events, socioeconomic problems, continued stress, dysfunctional families and traumatic events.

Another reason can sustain the disease, is the loss of a loved one, conflicting relationships, medical conditions where the person is physically limited as well as economic problems. It should be noted that the hereditary component is also present, where the predisposition can be presented. However, a person who has had a father with dysthymia does not mean that he develops it, he clarified.

The symptoms may initially go unnoticed since the person can continue to make their life with emotional discomfort. However, any family member or friend may perceive the disorder, "before he smiled more, did not complain so much, worked better, was not always with a negative attitude", are some of the phrases of a relative in reference to a patient suffering from clinical picture, followed by "she is like that, she became like that, she became sad, she is like that," explains the expert

For its part, the Mayo Clinic website ensures that the symptoms of the disorder usually appear and disappear for years, and its intensity may change over time. However, the symptoms do not usually disappear for more than 2 months at a time. In addition, episodes of major depression may occur before or during persistent depressive disorder, which is sometimes called double depression.

It is important to note that depression is divided into three groups:

  • Major Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Dysthymia

Being the latter, the slightest kind of disorder, however, should not be underestimated since 30% of affected people have a high risk of developing severe depression.

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Among the risks, we can point out:

  • Poor quality of life
  • Major depression, anxiety disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Difficult relationships and family conflicts
  • Problems in school and work and reduced productivity
  • Chronic pain and diseases in general
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Personality disorders
  • Tiredness and fatigue

What to do

Dr. Duarte also recommends going to a psychological and psychiatric consultation when suspecting different. Similarly, she notes that the treatment for it is prolonged, with a duration of months and even years and is accompanied by antidepressants, which stands out do not generate addiction. It also highlights that medication alone "does not work miracles", both individual and family therapy is necessary.

Also, she makes a call to avoid phrases like "He became like this and that's how it is, she wants to get attention or make a show", we must all help instead of complicating the situation, she added.

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