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Dysthymia is a mental illness that is characterized by mild depression. It has fewer symptoms and is less severe compared to a major depression. It doesn’t have any manic episode and can linger for years. However, individuals who have dysthymia may also experience major depression in between which experts called double depression. Dysmythia and another form of depression called chronic depression are now termed by experts as ‘persistent depressive disorders’.

There is no known cause for depression. But there are several factors that would greatly contribute to a person’s chance of developing depression. Genes or family history plays a major role in getting depression. Another factor is the abnormal functioning of brain circuits or nerve cells that connect different brain regions that control moods and feelings. Traumatic experiences and major life events can increase the chances of getting dysthymia. Medications, chronic illness, loss, drug and substance addiction all contribute to the risk of developing depression.

The signs and symptoms of depression are almost the same with major depression but are fewer and less intense.

  • Loss of enjoyment or interest in things or activities that were considered wonderful
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Cannot sleep or insomnia
  • Excessive sleep almost every day
  • Loss of energy or feeling tired every day
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Feeling guilty almost all of the time
  • Have high suicidal thoughts, suicide attempt or having a suicide plan
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions

A health specialist will be the one to diagnose whether you are suffering from depression or not. There are medical disorders that will cause dysthymia such as hypothyroidism.
Dysthymia is a serious illness but is also treatable. Like any other chronic diseases, early detection means early treatment and the likelihood of developing complications will be prevented.

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If you think you are suffering from Dysthymia you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Dysthymia as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).