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Dysthymic disorder (or Dysthymia) is defined by the DSM as a person having a depressed mood (can be irritable in children) for most of the day, for more days than not by their own account or observed by others, for at least 2 years (1 year for children)

and may also have the following symptoms (at least 2 or more):

  • poor appetite or overeating
  • insomnia or hypersomnia
  • low energy or fatigue
  • low self-esteem
  • poor concentration or difficulty making decisions
  • feelings of hopelessness

To meet clinical standards these symptoms also must cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

The condition is also not caused or explained by the following:

  • Due to effects of drugs or medication
  • Due to a medical condition
  • Better explained as Cyclothymic disorder

This diagnosis is not used if the person has had any of the following:


Dysthymic disorder is often described as the symptoms of low grade depression and a general lack of enjoyment of life. Someone with both dysthymic disorder and major depressive disorder is said to have double depression.


Mood disorders as diagnosed by the DSM edit
Mood episodes: Major depressive episode Manic episode Mixed episode Hypomanic episode

Depressive disorders: Major depressive disorder Dysthymic disorder Depressive disorder NOS (PMDD)

Bipolar disorders: Bipolar I disorder Bipolar II disorder Cyclothymic disorder Bipolar disorder NOS

Other mood disorders: Mood disorder due to a general medical condition Substance-induced mood disorder Mood disorder NOS

Episode specifiers: Severity Psychotic Remission Chronic Catatonic Melancholic Atypical Postpartum

Course specifiers: Longitudinal Seasonal (SAD) Rapid cycling

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