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Depression: Major Depression & Unipolar Varieties
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Dysthymic Disorder Symptoms

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

This disorder is characterized by an overwhelming yet chronic state of depression, exhibited by a depressed mood for most of the days, for more days than not, for at least 2 years. (In children and adolescents, mood can be irritable and duration must be at least 1 year.) The person who suffers from this disorder must not have gone for more than 2 months without experiencing two or more of the following symptoms:

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

No Major Depressive Episode has been present during the first two years (or one year in children and adolescents) and there has never been a Manic Episode, a Mixed Episode, or a Hypomanic Episode, and criteria have never been met for Cyclothymic Disorder. The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a the use or abuse of a substance (alcohol, drugs, medications) or a general medical condition. The symptoms must also cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, educational or other important areas of functioning.

Criteria summarized from:

American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.