Dysthymia is a low-grade depressive disorder less severe than major depressive disorder. According to Medline Plus, dysthymia is a chronic form of depression causing low moods most of the time. As is the case with many forms of depression, dysthymia affects women more prominently than men. Just over 4% of the US population suffers from the disorder. Other common names for dysthymia include chronic depression, dysthymic disorder, and neurotic depression.
Common Symptoms of Dysthymia
Hopelessness is characterized by a mild or severe feeling of despair. Feeling there is no hope, people suffering from this symptom may concede events or life in general are impossible to change.
Insomnia is a common symptom of depression. Characterized by a difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, severe insomnia may require medication or medical attention if left untreated.
On the other side of insomnia is hypersomnia. Hypersomnia is a sleep disorder as well as one of the symptoms of dysthymia. When this symptom appears, instead of having difficulty falling asleep, people have difficulty staying awake. The symptom can be severe enough to prevent completion of daily tasks like work, driving, or caring for children.
Concentration is typically altered in people suffering from many types of depression. Difficulty concentrating could occur consistently or occasionally, depending on the person.
Decreased Ability to Make Decisions
For many people suffering from depression, making decisions is difficult. Some sufferers explain the difficulty as being more about the results of the decision as opposed to actually making the decision. Other symptoms of dysthymia like hopelessness and lack of self-esteem may contribute to difficulty making decisions.
Lack of Energy
An overall lack of energy can affect daily activities, work, and sleep patterns. Being fatigued during the day could also be associated with insomnia.
Altered sleep patterns, irritation, and lack of self-esteem can make falling asleep and staying asleep difficult resulting in fatigue. If hypersomnia is present, sleeping too much can increase fatigue.
Lack of Self-Esteem
Lack of self-esteem goes hand in hand with hopelessness. Depression is a mental and physical disorder affecting emotions as well as physical feelings. Lack of self-esteem can be exacerbated by hopelessness.
Depression typically affects appetite on one end of the spectrum or the other. Some people suffer a lack of appetite while others overeat.
Overeating is linked to emotion for many people. Hormones associated with eating and satiety, are thought to be a common cause of obesity. In cases of depression, patients may desire the emotional boost from eating, but dislike the negative feeling of shame after eating.
Feelings of Irritation
Irritation is commonly associated with quick anger and mild rage. Simple things like noise, loud talking, or multiple noises can be triggers for irritation.
Variable Symptoms of Dysthymia
Depression is a group of symptoms felt differently by each patient. One patient may suffer from every common symptom while another only two to three. Symptoms can also change from one day to the next. Patients can suffer symptoms for many years even while taking medication.