More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
300.4 Dysthymic Disorder

A. Depressed mood for most of the day, for more days than not, as indicated either by subjective account or observation by others, for at least 2 years. Note: In children and adolescents, mood can be irritable and duration must be at least 1 year.

B. Presence, while depressed, of two (or more) of the following:

(1) poor appetite or overeating
(2) Insomnia or Hypersomnia
(3) low energy or fatigue
(4) low self-esteem
(5) poor concentration or difficulty making decisions
(6) feelings of hopelessness

C. During the 2-year period (1 year for children or adolescents) of the disturbance, the person has never been without the symptoms in Criteria A and B for more than 2 months at a time.

D. No Major Depressive Episode has been present during the first 2 years of the disturbance (1 year for children and adolescents); i.e., the disturbance is not better accounted for by chronic Major Depressive Disorder, or Major Depressive Disorder, In Partial Remission.
Note: There may have been a previous Major Depressive Episode provided there was a full remission (no significant signs or symptoms for 2 months) before development of the Dysthymic Disorder. In addition, after the initial 2 years (1 year in children or adolescents) of Dysthymic Disorder, there may be superimposed episodes of Major Depressive Disorder, in which case both diagnoses may be given when the criteria are met for a Major Depressive Episode.

E. There has never been a Manic Episode, a Mixed Episode, or a Hypomanic Episode, and criteria have never been met for Cyclothymic Disorder.

F. The disturbance does not occur exclusively during the course of a chronic Psychotic Disorder, such as Schizophrenia or Delusional Disorder.

G. The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., hypothyroidism).

H. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder

classified as a type of affective disorder or mood disorder that often resembles a less severe, yet more chronic form of major (clinical) depression. However, persons with dysthymia may also experience major depressive episodes at times.

a mood disorder characterized by depressed mood and loss of interest or pleasure in customary activities, with some additional signs and symptoms of depression, that is present most of the time for at least 2 years, but which does not meet diagnostic criteria of a major depression. Many patients with dysthymia go on to develop major depressive episodes.

Dysthymia is a type of low-level depression that has lasted for at least two years without any substantial remission.

A type of depression that is long-lasting - 2 to 5 years or more - and is less severe than major depression, characterized by a persistent gloomy mood. Sometimes called chronic depression or dysthymic disorder.

mild chronic depression; "I thought she had just been in a bad mood for thirty years, but the doctor called it dysthymia"

Dysthymia, or dysthymic disorder, is a form of the mood disorder of depression characterised by a lack of enjoyment/pleasure in life that continues for at least six months. It differs from clinical depression in the severity of the symptoms. While dysthymia usually does not prevent a person from functioning, it prevents full enjoyment of life. Dysthymia also lasts much longer than an episode of major depression.
can someone describe what it actually feels like? i'm just curious because i wonder sometimes if i would have fit the category of dysthymia in the past, but it is really hard to tell based on the definitions.


So what is the different between Major Depressive Disorder and Dysthymia? Are they not almost the same thing but one is mild and one is major? How do you determine the difference between mild and major?

Just curious?


and what about when you've been depressed for 10 years or so, varying levels of severity??? I guess that's how I got my Recurrent Depression diagnosis....some of it major and always the general depressed mood beneath it...

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
The difference (between dysthymia and major depression) lies in the degree or severity of the depressive mood, how long it lasts, and whether there has ever been a major depressive episode, among other things. As braveheart notes, you may be diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Recurrent and still experience periods of milder dysphoric mood between episodes of major depression.


So is diagnosing whether someone has Major Depressive Disorder or Dysthymia pretty easy for a mental health professional based on the persons history and tests?

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
I would say so, in most cases. The major "differential diagnosis" questions would be "rule out" bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder, as well as medical conditions such as hypothyroidism.


Resident Canuck
:juggle:"Gulity" as charged. I am diagnosed with Chronic depression. I never heard it called Dysthymia before though. I just happened to click here to find out what it was....:crazy:

I tell people my diagnosis and they are stunned. I seem upbeat, but I just hide away when I am miserable :p so no one sees lol

I burst out crying sometimes and other times can be the funniest most goofy person around. Inbetween, I am pleasant, but somber. Low energy and seem really plasid. (depending on my anxiety levels) Seems to take loads of energy to do things to motivate myself to do the simplist of tasks.

I have been like this for about 12 years. I am adapting I think.
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