What is Dysthymia?


What is Dysthymia?


What is Dysthymia?

By: Hanna Khalil, Counselor

“I am going to be sad for a little while. Then I promise I will do something productive.” This is Dysthymia. Dysthymia is a disorder characterized as mild depression. The definition of depression is sadness, not just any sadness but severe feelings of sadness. Depression also includes bitterness, feeling down, regrets, and hiding. Depression makes one feel like all doors that lead to the sun are shutting and the only ones opening are the ones leading to darkness. Dysthymia is a form of depression, however it is not as severe.

Causes for Dysthymia

There is no main cause for dysthymia, however, there are three main factors that might be causes for dysthymia. First, there is the biochemical factor, which could be due to an imbalance in the brain, mental illnesses, and physical changes in the brain and its chemicals. Second, is the genetic factor, which would be due to the disorder being passed on from a family member. Lastly, would be the environment due to having a hard time coping with the problems you face in your daily life. Environmental factors like losing a loved one, a childhood trauma, family history, financial issues, or high levels of stress have a bigger effect on the rising of dysthymia as a disorder.

Symptoms of Dysthymia

Dysthymia could be diagnosed by the presence of certain symptoms. Symptoms include a loss of interest in daily activities, sadness or feeling down, hopelessness, tiredness and lack of energy, low self-esteem, self-criticism and feeling incapable, trouble concentrating and making decisions, excessive anger, decreased productivity, effectiveness, and activity, avoidance of social activities, feelings of guilt and worries over the past, poor appetite or overeating, as well as sleep problems.

Treatment of Dysthymia

Just like any other disorder, dysthymia can be treated. But how do we treat dysthymia? Dysthymia can be treated using medication, and psychotherapy.  Psychotherapy is the treatment of mental disorders by psychological rather than medical means. Psychopathology will help the individual learn more about his condition and mood, feelings, thoughts, and behavior. It can help develop more coping skills and stress management, improve the ability to make decisions, reduce self-defeating behavior patterns such as negativity, and hopelessness, as well as improve social skills.


If you feel down, and depressed and that something is wrong with you, then you need to see a doctor. Don’t wait until it’s too late because the sooner you take care of it, the better. Going to psychotherapy (also known as talk therapy) will help you become organized, get involved, get support, and will also provide you with self-relief. Get help before it gets worse. Most importantly, have the urge to get better so that you could see the change you want to be.