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What is Persistent Depressive Disorder?

Persistent Depressive (also known as Dysthymia) is a mood disorder that is similar to Major Depression. Both Major Depression and Persistent Depression cause people to feel depressed and both can decrease someone’s quality of life. However, they have different symptoms and severity. Major Depression causes severe and persistent feelings of sadness, fatigue, and decline in executive functioning. Persistent depression on the other hand, tends to be less severe and includes symptoms like low self-esteem and feelings of hopelessness. Persistent Depression also lasts longer than Major Depression (at least two years). A person can be diagnosed with both Persistent Depressive Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder.

How does Persistent Depression affect me?

Both Persistent Depression and Major Depression can make enjoying life difficult. People with Persistent Depression tend to report feeling constantly sad, tired, hopeless, having a low self-esteem, and/or difficulty concentrating. Oftentimes, people diagnosed with Persistent Depressive Disorder report consistent feelings of a low depressive buzz rather than episodic symptoms. Symptoms may be less severe in both quantity and intensity in comparison to Major Depression, but they are still serious enough to interfere with the person’s life and daily functioning. They might have difficulty concentrating coupled with low productivity at work/school, trouble finding enjoyment in life, and overall sense of hopelessness or inadequacy.

How is Persistent Depression treated?

Treatment for Persistent Depression is similar to that for Major Depression. There are three effective ways to combat Persistent Depression. The first is lifestyle changes. This includes journaling, planning fun activities, spending time with loved ones, physical activities, nutrition, and implementing daily routines to name a few. The second is therapy. Therapy, specifically Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one of the most effective ways of combating both Persistent Depression and Major Depression. Your therapist can help you challenge unhelpful ways of thinking and develop more positive ways to cope. Finally, SSRIs or antidepressants may be used in many cases and are effective in treating Persistent Depression. Many people find the best outcomes when they combine any two (if not all three) of these treatment strategies.

This page is also part of the Roamers Therapy Glossary; a collection of mental-health related definitions that are written by our therapists.

While our offices are currently located at the South Loop neighborhood of Downtown Chicago, Illinois, we also welcome and serve clients for online therapy from anywhere in Illinois and Washington, D.C. Clients from the Chicagoland area may choose in-office or online therapy and usually commute from surrounding areas such as River North, West Loop, Gold Coast, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Lake View, Rogers Park, Logan Square, Pilsen, Bridgeport, Little Village, Bronzeville, South Shore, Hyde Park, Back of the Yards, Wicker Park, Bucktown and many more. You can visit our contact page to access detailed information on our office location.