Chronic Depression Can Be a Long Term Problem
Chronic depression (Dysthymia) is a form of depression that is consistent and seems to lie just below the surface. Although the sufferer is depressed, the symptoms are often less severe. A good analogy would be a low-grade fever as opposed to a 104° temperature. Although you’re uncomfortable, you’re not so uncomfortable that you require immediate medical intervention.
Chronic depression (Dysthymia) tends to run in families and seems to affect women more often than men. It is often the result of another emotional disorder or illness that leaves the sufferer feeling helpless and unable to feel normal again. Those with Dysthymia tend to have an overall negative outlook. This carries over into all aspects of their lives including career, family and sense of self.
Chronic Depression is often treated with the combination of drugs and therapy. Although antidepressants are used in the treatment of chronic depression, they are not as effective as when used for major depression. They often take longer for the patient to feel any benefit. Talk therapy is often beneficial and provides the sufferer with a way to short circuit negative thoughts and feelings. As in most treatment for depression, treatment needs to be tailored to the individual needs of each patient to see which works best. There is often a trial and error period when working with a therapist to determine which medication and what type of therapy will treat a person’s specific source depression.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a popular treatment for those with chronic depression (Dysthymia) and that don’t respond well to medications. This type of therapy teaches the patient to be proactive in thoughts as opposed to reacting on an emotional level. When the patient can take an outside objective approach to the negative thoughts and feelings, they are often able to look at them with more clarity and realize that things aren’t as bad as they thought. In simple terms, the patient is simply taught to think differently.
Most of those who suffer with chronic depression will experience at least one major depressive episode in their lifetime. During these episodes, more immediate treatment may be required to keep the patient on track. There are those who are able to completely recover, but there are those that will have symptoms for many years. Either way, it’s imperative that treatment be applied when necessary.
As with most types of depression, there is an increase in the risk of suicide with chronic depression. When the patient’s thoughts begin to focus on death and fantasies about the manner of their death and what their funeral might look like, help must be sought out immediately. If the sufferer begins to talk about saying goodbyes, getting affairs in order and giving away things of value, this should serve as a red flag to those around them.
Chronic depression (Dysthymia) can leave a person feeling tired and just disinterested in life. Because this is usually a long-term condition, many struggle from one day to the next to find happiness in the little things in life. Although this can be a struggle, treatment should be encouraged to help both the patient and their friends and family.