Dysthymia is a depression:
- which is expressed in a milder form; its symptoms are fewer and less severe, but may affect quality of life;
- which is chronic: the diagnosis of dysthymia can be made when sadness and mental suffering are constant, all day, more than every other day for at least two years (with no respite of more than two months) and which persists.
Some people may be vulnerable due to genetic factors. It can therefore appear quite early in life. Those with it may attribute the disorder to their personality, not identifying it as abnormal, having always known it.
Dysthymia could be triggered in vulnerable individuals by multiple interacting factors:
- biological, involving a neurotransmitter (serotonin);
- psychological: exposure to prolonged high stress…;
- social: financial, relationship difficulties…
Dysthymia can be associated with major depressive episodes: this is known as double depression.