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What is dysthymia depression?

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Dysthymia depression is a mild, chronic illness that interferes with a person's ability to enjoy life and function according to Mayo Clinic. Dysthymia may cause one to feel hopeless, lose interest in normal activities, lack productivity, and have low self-esteem that persists for at least two years.

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People with dysthymia have been known to be incredibly critical, complain about everything, and never have fun doing anything, says Mayo Clinic. Common symptoms of dysthymia also include lethargy, irritability, anger, difficulty concentrating and avoiding social situations. Feeling guilt, having sleep issues and hopelessness are also symptoms. The symptoms come and go for years at a time with varying levels of intensity. Adults and children experience dysthymia differently. For example, young children with dysthymia exhibit behavioral problems, poor school performance, pessimism and poor social skills.

The treatment for dysthymia depression is unique to the individual, but often includes a combination of psychotherapy and medications. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, and tricyclic antidepressants are the types of antidepressants used to treat dysthymia. The types of medication depend on the patient's former treatment methods, ability to handle medications, symptom severity and personal preferences. Medication is more effective as a standalone treatment than psychotherapy, but Mayo Clinic states that a combination of the two is likely the most effective treatment plan.

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