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test, causes of this mood disorder

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Dysthymia is a mood disorder characterized by a chronic depressive state. What are the causes and how to treat it? Answers from Fanélie Raban, clinical psychologist and psychotherapist.

Definition: what is dysthymia?

Dysthymia is a chronic mood disorder characterized by depressive syndrome of moderate intensity, but of persistent duration. “English speakers sometimes call it ”high-functioning depression”, which is a good illustration of dysthymia. French psychologists also call it the low noise depression, because it is not intense enough to prevent you from living on a daily basis“, explains Fanélie Raban, clinical psychologist and psychotherapist. “However, people may have the impression of functioning rather than living, because they are unable to take pleasure in their daily activities. They accomplish the various tasks assigned to them, but the positive emotions that could accompany their daily life have almost disappeared”, she explains. For the specialist, the diagnosis of this “low noise depression” can take time.

What are the causes of dysthymia?

The causes of dysthymia are multiple. “For this reason it is difficult to identify an obvious cause of this mood disorder, because it is sometimes a combination of several factors who will be the trigger“, explains the psychologist. “This can range from intrinsic factors such asa pre-existing mental disorder, a genetic or family predisposition to burnout or parental“. She continues.”For some people, it’s reactive, and finding a balance in life will allow you to get out of this “phase”. For others, especially in the case of a chemical deficit, it will be necessary to support the mood with a drug treatment.“. According to her, some factors such as lack of social support, pre-existing pathologiesfinancial difficulties, bereavement or daily stress increase the risk.

What are the symptoms of dysthymia?

If dysthymia is not a major depression, it brings together many depressive symptoms. These symptoms range from appetite disorder to sleep disorders through fatigue. “Whether you eat much more than usual or you lose the desire to eat, the relationship to food is in any case modified. Regarding sleep disorders, you experience insomnia or, conversely, you sleep a lot more than usual, even too much and this can prevent you from enjoying certain moments. You may also feel tired and feel like you are losing energy.“, enumerates Fanélie Raban. The other symptoms are low self-esteem, difficulty concentrating or making decisions as well as pessimism. “You put a dark look at the future and it’s hard to keep hope alive. Pessimism invades your perceptions“, adds the psychotherapist. She clarifies. “Despite the similarities with a major depressive syndrome, it is however easier to manage the disease on a daily basis. People can continue their studies or go to work, for example, but inside they feel exhausted, frustrated and full of weariness.“.

Is there a test to diagnose dysthymia?

The diagnosis of dysthymia is made by a doctor-psychiatrist on the basis of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria (DSM). “If people have two or more of these previously discussed symptoms, they may have dysthymia“, says Fanélie Raban. The DSM-5 indicates that the diagnosis can only be installed after two years. “You must have experienced these symptoms at a low to medium level of intensity for at least 2 years“, adds the clinical psychologist.

According to the psychotherapist, it is essential tostart psychotherapy. “This is an essential step. It can be therapy through dialogue, with a psychologist, for example, but it can also go through drug treatment“. The catch antidepressants or anxiolytics is also sometimes the solution to getting better. “With proper care, it is quite possible to get better.”wishes to clarify our expert.

Thanks to Fanélie Raban, clinical psychologist and psychotherapist.

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