Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)

What is Persistent Depressive Disorder?

Persistent Depressive Disorder used to be known as dysthymia. This is a chronic form of depression that causes an individual’s mood to be in a low state on a regular basis.

The chronically depressed state of persistent depressive disorder will last a minimum of two years.

Despite the consistent nature of this disorder, however, the symptoms that are associated with it aren’t as severe as those associated with major depression.

What are the Symptoms of Persistent Depressive Disorder?

Persistent depressive disorder will cause a depressed mood that will occur for the majority of the day, and an individual will be depressed on more days than not. This will go on for a minimum of one year for adolescents and children, and for two years in adults.


In addition to feeling down, there will be at least of the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue or low levels of energy
  • Difficulty making choices or having difficulty concentrating
  • Hypersomnia or insomnia
  • Low self-esteem
  • Hopeless feelings
  • Overeating or poor appetite

How is Persistent Depressive Disorder Treated?

To self-treat your persistent depressive disorder, you can try getting adequate amounts of sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, participating in activities that lift your mood, talking about your feelings with people you trust, surrounding yourself with people who are positive and caring, and avoiding illegal drugs and alcohol.

Medications can also be prescribed by your doctor, and you may benefit from talk therapy in the form of insight-oriented psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Last Reviewed:
October 08, 2016
Last Updated:
August 24, 2017
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