Dysthymia Disorder

Dysthymia Disorder


A disorder with a chronic depressed mood; it is a mild form of depression.


Alternative Names
Neurotic depression (dysthymia); Dysthymic disorder; Chronic depression
Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The cause is unknown. The symptoms are not as severe as depression. However, affected people struggle most days with symptoms of depressed mood. It occurs more frequently in women than men and generally persists over a period of years. It can occur in children.


  • Depressed mood for most of the day
    • Depressed more days than not      
    • Continues for 2 years or longer


  • Poor appetite or overeating

  • Insomnia or hypersomnia

  • Low energy or fatigue

  • Low self-esteem

  • Poor concentration

  • Feelings of hopelessness

Signs and tests
The person’s own description of the behavior usually leads to diagnosis of the disorder. A physical examination is given to rule out physical cause, and a psychological evaluation is given to rule out other psychiatric disorders.

Treatment consists of a combination of medication and therapy. The most common therapies are cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy. Often, higher doses of medications are necessary than for severe depression.

Expectations (prognosis)
The overall outlook is good with treatment but the disorder may persist for several years.

Dysthymia can progress into a major depression, and itself carries a risk of suicide.

Calling your health care provider
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you suffer from a persistent depressed mood.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised:

Diseases and Conditions Center

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.