Chronic depression is also called dysthymic disorder or Dysthymia. This illness can be serious although not as severe as bouts with Major Depression. Someone you know may have Chronic Depression and you would not know it. Having a regular life is very possible for people with this condition. It’s not unusual for them to continue everyday activities such as attending school or having a social life without great difficulties. Of course it’s invisible to the outside world because the effects from this illness are on the inside. The effects are mental and physical.
They also found that the relatives studied were six times more likely to have chronic depression if their family member had become chronically depressed by age 13.
Experts are not sure what causes dysthymia. This form of chronic depression is thought to be related to brain changes that involve serotonin, a chemical or neurotransmitter that aids your brain in coping with emotions. Major life stressors, chronic illness, medications, and relationship or work problems may also increase the chances of dysthymia.
A mental health specialist generally makes the diagnosis based on the person’s symptoms. In the case of dysthymia, these symptoms will have lasted for a longer period of time and be less severe than in patients with major depression. Psychotherapy with medication is usually the best possible treatment option for depression (acute or chronic) for nearly everyone. If you’re only doing one or the other, you’re likely not going to get well as quickly, it’s that simple. We have decades’ worth of research showing this, but here’s another one to add to the pile.
Chronic Depression will not cause you to cough, sneeze or run a fever. There usually won’t be a rash. However, a victim of this illness may suffer from feelings of helplessness, worthlessness and hopelessness. Some people with chronic depression give up on one or the other modality at some point in treatment. After going to therapy for years, for instance, one can certainly get a feeling that continuing it is of little use if you haven’t felt less depressed. The same is true if you’ve been taking the same antidepressant for years and find it only seems to help a little. Those affected may experience problems with sleep and insomnia. The sufferer might be consumed by constant feelings of sadness and emptiness .
Neither psychotherapy alone nor medication alone significantly differed from one another in terms of their effectiveness in helping a person with depression in this study – they were both equally effective. However, the researchers discovered that neither treatment by itself was as effective as the combination of the two. Some people with chronic depression give up on one or the other modality at some point in treatment. After going to therapy for years, for instance, one can certainly get a feeling that continuing it is of little use if you haven’t felt less depressed. The same is true if you’ve been taking the same antidepressant for years and find it only seems to help a little.
Death and suicide are considerations that a patient will have. Usually people with chronic depression do a good job of hiding these signs. When mental illness exists you have to look very closely for signs and symptoms. They’re not always clear. What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Dysthymia?
The symptoms of dysthymia are the same as those of major depression but not as intense and include the following:
* Persistent sad or empty feeling
* Difficulty sleeping (sleeping too much or too little)
* Insomnia (early morning awakening)
* Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness
* Feelings of guilt
* Loss of interest or the ability to enjoy oneself
* Loss of energy or fatigue
* Difficulty concentrating, thinking or making decisions
* Changes in appetite (overeating or loss of appetite)
* Observable mental and physical sluggishness
* Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
* Thoughts of death or suicide
If you experience the symptoms of depression for over two weeks, it is important to consult a psychiatrist or your doctor. The medical professional will carry out a comprehensive medical evaluation, with particular attention being paid to the psychiatric history of your family’s as well as your own.
There are no laboratory tests such as X-rays or blood tests involved in the diagnosis of dysthymia.
A specialist in mental health usually diagnoses chronic depression on the basis of the symptoms of the individual. With dysthymia, the symptoms of How Does Grief Counselling Work will generally be less severe and have lasted longer compared to people afflicted with major depression.
According to studies made on the functioning of the brain, it has been shown that a complex system of neurotransmitters in the brain produce chemicals, which transmit signals between nerve cells. Serotonin, which is one of these neurotransmitters, creates a feeling of happiness or well-being. Drugs that are used for correcting the imbalances of neurotransmitters are very effective in the treatment of depression, which is why it is thought that depression may be triggered off by chemical imbalances in the brain. And as far as heredity is concerned, it has been observed that depression often runs in families.
With dysthymia, your doctor will want to make sure that the symptoms are not a result of substance abuse or a medical condition, such as hypothyroidism. Also, the depression and other symptoms should cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of your life.
Depression is “the fourth most disabling illness in the world, but we understand remarkably little about what causes it or how it unfolds in the brain,” he says. Potash says the disease is “one of the most important public health issues.”
Through Psychotherapy the Doctor can attempt to find the cause of the depression and work towards infusing a positive outlook for the patient. The other option is to prescribe antidepressants to help in controlling the disease. In many cases the answer is to utilize both options to bring about a positive result. Remember, relatives who had never been depressed weren’t included in the study. So the odds cited don’t apply to the entire family.Although Chronic Depression is not Major Depression it can certainly lead to it. Early detection is key. Although chronic depression is a serious condition, it can be treated. Dysthymia is usually treated by combining psychotherapy and drugs. Drugs help to correct chemical imbalances as well as to treat the symptoms of sadness. Psychotherapy helps in resolving personal issues that could be responsible for the depression. Results from the acute phase-the first 12 weeks-of the 80-week study of 681 patients depressed for at least two years show that a combination of nefazodone and psychotherapy produces an 85 percent response rate. The drug alone leads to a 55 percent rate of response, similar to 52 percent response rate for psychotherapy.
About 14 million Americans suffer from chronic forms of depression, marked by disabling psychological and social problems. These individuals are often misdiagnosed as having character and personality disorders.
Normally, Chronic Depression becomes an issue when it gets to the point that the illness begins to cause problems in everyday life. It’s really time to act when employment or other outside activities begin to suffer.
While dysthymia is a serious illness, it’s also very treatable. As with any chronic illness, early diagnosis and medical treatment may reduce the intensity and duration of depression symptoms and also reduce the likelihood of a relapse.
To treat dysthymia, doctors may use psychotherapy (counseling), medications such as antidepressants, or a combination of these therapies. Often, dysthymia is primarily treatable with the help ofprimary care physician.
Many people with chronic depression do not seek treatment because they don’t want people to know they have a mental illness. However, with proper treatment, people with chronic depression can lead full, productive lives. If you suffer from chronic depression, see a doctor. He or she can help create a treatment plan that will help you feel the way you want to. If your doctor recommends an antidepressant, take the recommended dose at around the same time each day. Even if you are feeling great, do not stop taking your medication or skip a dose without your doctor’s permission. Antidepressants need to be reduced gradually to prevent side effects. It is also important to work with a therapist or support group to get help with any problems that are contributing to your depression. They can help you develop a positive attitude and a new way of looking at life and your problems. Recognizing your symptoms and taking control of them is an important step in becoming healthy again. And, never forget that what you eat, the amount of sleep you get, and how much you exercise all contribute to how good you feel. If you or someone you know has thoughts of suicide, call your doctor or therapist immediately. Also call your doctor if you have any negative side effects from an antidepressant.