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What is chronic depression (dysthymia)

In medicine, depression refers to a mood disorder marked by extreme sadness, negative thoughts and a feeling of hopelessness. Depression is considered to be a modern mood disorder, since nowadays more people suffer from it when compared to the earlier times.

Each person experience sadness due to some sad event, but this sadness is only for a short period of time. However, chronic depression is a condition in which the sadness and the symptoms of the depression last longer than it is normal. The medical term for chronic depression is dysthymia. It belongs to the milder forms of depression even though it may last even for years. The people suffering from chronic depression are able to perform their daily activities, but they do it without will and they are constantly unhappy.

Causes of chronic depression

The experts have not found the real cause for the incidence of dysthymia, although we know that certain tragic loss or sad event is likely to cause depression. However, there are several factors that contribute to the occurrence of chronic depression.

Chronic depression may be caused by stressful situations that happened early in the life of the patient. Furthermore, when one suffers from some chronic disease, it may also lead to the development of chronic depression. Imbalance of certain neurotransmitters and chemicals in the brain may also be responsible for the development of chronic depression. For example, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that produces the sensation of well-being and happiness. Depression may also be a heritable condition since there are researches that prove that depression runs in family.

Symptoms of chronic depression

The people suffering from chronic depression usually experience the same warning signs as people suffering from major depression.

Those with chronic depression usually have problems to go to sleep while during the day, they feel a constant fatigue and do not have energy to perform any activity. Furthermore, the feeling of worthlessness, as well as the feeling of guilt, can often be predominant in these people. Poor concentration, inattentiveness and indecisiveness are also some of the symptoms of chronic depression. However, the most serious symptom of dysthymia refers to suicidal thoughts or constant thinking about death.

Psychotherapy and drugs usually have to be combined in the treatment of chronic depression. While drugs have the role to treat the chemical imbalances in the body and some of the symptoms of the chronic depression, psychotherapy is important for resolving of some personal problems that caused depression in the first place.

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