Dysthymic Disorder - Discussion

Dysthymic disorder is a chronic condition which is marked by symptoms of depression that is prevalent all day long, for a number of days continuously, over a timeframe of approximately two years. In children / adolescents, this phase is marked by irritability rather than the other common signs of depression. The duration of the condition is also shorter – lasting about 1 year.

Some of the complications of this form of depression create severe impairment in social interactions, occupational routines and other important areas of functionality of the individual due to extreme mood fluctuations.

In children and adolescents, the effects of this disorder are often reflected in their school performance, social anxiety and poor interaction skills. In adults, this disorder creates increased risk of the onset of major depressive disorder, as well as high chances of substance abuse and related disorders.

Statistics and research studies have indicated a lifetime prevalence of 6% across the general population for dysthymic disorder. Amongst adults, women are 2 to 3 times more likely to develop this condition than men. The onset of this disorder is likely to commence in childhood / adolescence, and then persist into adulthood.

Among the adult population, studies conducted indicate that 75% of those suffering from this disorder will develop major depressive disorder within five years. The spontaneous recovery rate for this disease is about 10% annually. This recovery rate significantly rises with timely and active treatment.

It has been noted that persons suffering from dysthymic disorder often have first degree biological relatives who suffer from the same, raising the question of a familial pattern to the occurrence of this depressed condition.

Treatment of Dysthymic

There has been very little research conducted in this area of depression treatment. General research studies show that medication is one of the effective routes of combating this condition, and individuals suffering from dysthymic disorder are said to respond well to tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) antidepressants. Also, when such treatment is combined with supportive psychotherapy and psycho education (education imparted to patients and their families about the disease), recovery rates show significant improvements.

Here, we would state our stand that, because drug medications often come with many dangerous and even fatal side effects, their use in the treatment of depression (any type of depression) should only be carried out as a last resort. Other safer and more natural remedies and help should, in our view, be first explored in lieu of pharmaceutical drugs.

Once commenced on, however, drug medications must be consumed strictly according to dosage instructions; stopping them abruptly without professional advice is also potentially very dangerous.

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