Have you felt sad, blue, down, low and not interested in your usual activities for most of the day, more days than not for at least the past two years (or one year for children and adolescents)? If you have also experienced at least two of the following associated symptoms more or less consistently for over two years, you may be dysthymic:
- eating too much or too little
- sleeping too much or too little
- low energy or tire easily
- low self-esteem
- difficulty making decisions or concentrating
- feelings of hopelessness and despair
- impaired ability to feel pleasure
- decreased productivity
- decreased sex drive
Children and adolescents with dysthymia may be more irritable and cranky than suffer from a depressed mood, and they need only experience the above symptoms consistently for one year for a diagnosis to be made.
These symptoms may seem mild, but dysthymia can have significant negative impacts on work and social functioning, and general health and well-being. Dysthymia is also associated with high rates of anxiety and substance abuse, and suicide - incidence is estimated at between 3% to 12%.
Revision date: July 9, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.