Dysthymia, can be described as a long-lasting, less severe experience of depression symptoms. Without treatment, studies have shown that the condition of people suffering from dysthymia tends to progressively deteriorate over time.
Even with treatment relapse may occur. The long-term consequences of dysthymia may therefore be considered as severe, if not more so, than the short-term experience of a major depressive episode.
Revision date: July 9, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD