What You Need To Know About Chronic Depression

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Chronic depression, also called dysthymia, is a less severe type of depression, but its symptoms can persist for longer periods of time.  This low level form of depression does not make it harmless.  A person with the chronic form of depression may still be able to function in day to day activities but is always unhappy.

Symptoms

The symptoms of this form of depression are basically the same as those of major depression with one difference.  They are not as severe.  When depression is chronic the sufferer feels the same persistent sadness and may experience a change in sleeping patterns.

The feelings of helplessness, worthlessness and guilt are similar to those found in major depression.  There may be changes in eating patterns and changes in weight.  The individual may lose interest in life and experience heightened fatigue.  There may be problems making decisions and concentrating.  Suicidal ideation may also be present.

Diagnosis

A diagnosis is made primarily based on symptoms.  As stated earlier, the symptoms will be of a lesser severity than major depression, but they will last longer.  Although they will be less severe, they will still have a clear negative impact on your life and possibly impair your functioning in one or several areas of life.

Your mental health professional will likely ask you about what your symptoms are, when they began, how long they have been going on, and how severe they are.  Your health professional will be able to rule out any other possible causes of your symptoms.  This is necessary because many conditions could produce similar symptoms.  An accurate diagnosis is necessary to obtain proper treatment.

Treatment

The methods of treatment for chronic depression are the same as those for major depression.  Psychotherapy and medication can work together or unilaterally to help you find relief.

Psychotherapy seeks out the underlying causes of your condition so that self-defeating thoughts and actions can be changed.  Once these changes are made then the depression will begin to lift, and you will be on your way to recovery.

Medications can help to relieve the symptoms of depression.  This can make the pursuit of recovery easier as the symptoms can interfere with or delay the healing process.

Chronic may be less severe than major depression, but it can rob you of the joy in life just the same.  It may seem less urgent because continued functioning is possible, but treatment can get you back on the road to a happy and fulfilling life.  You deserve more than being able to function.

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