“It’s a thief in the night
To come and grab you
It can creep up inside you
And consume you
A disease of the mind
It can control you
It’s too close for comfort.
Your mind is in Disturbia”
Rihanna fans sing along, for others who aren’t aware, these are the lines from Rihanna’s famous song ‘Disturbia’. Although this article isn’t about the song but the medical condition – Dysthymia, I kind of think it describes it well, besides I just wanted an upbeat beginning to this otherwise gloomy condition.
Dysthymia also is known as Persistent Depression disorder (PDD) is a mood disorder. You may call it as a type of depression, however, the difference between this and major depression is that- dysthymia is not as bad as major depression in its severity albeit it is far longer in its duration going from years to accompany one lifelong. In fact, according to DSM – IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition) for a condition to be diagnosed as (PDD) the ‘sad’ feeling must be present for most days for a period of 2 years or more in adults and 1 year for children and adolescents. There cannot be a period of more than 2 consecutive months where this kind of mood wasn’t observed. Doubtless, there must be 2 more signs or symptoms for it to classify as PDD.
Now the symptoms of PDD are like any other form of depression such as:
- Change in weight/eating/sleeping patterns
- Lost interest in daily activities or hobbies
- Withdrawal from social life and so on
As you can easily understand that this kind of behavior over a long period starts affecting a person’s relationships, negatively impacts work and life. These feelings of hopelessness for a long time can give rise to suicidal temperament. The hard part about it is that since the emotions aren’t absolutely hard-hitting, many just consider it to be part of people’s personality thinking of them as the unhappy tribe, and the victim also accepts it as part of their reality and goes without any treatment or support for many years of life. It doesn’t just stop here, things take a turn for worse when episodes of major depression combine them over and above PDD, this is known as ‘Double Depression’, that is why seeking timely medical help is important!
Why? The why bothers everybody, why it happened, why me, but unfortunately, some whys don’t have an answer, which is true for PDD as well. It can be because:
- A tragic life event,
- A chemical imbalance in the brain,
- Can be hereditary as well
There can be many but not exact causes for it. So, let us leave the why and focus on how to get well. Consult a doctor who may perform a physical exam, they will also ascertain if it is an impact from some other underlying medical condition both physical or mental. Once satisfied with the result you can start the healing process. Treatments mostly include:
- Talk therapy, also known as psychotherapy
- Medication (anti-depressants) if required, which several weeks to reach to a level where you see them working. If you are on medications, do not stop them abruptly, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, always work closely with your doctor and let them know if you stop them!
- In these troubled times, support of the loved ones can make a world of difference. So, if you notice anyone expressing any such symptoms ‘handle with care’.
To all those feeling under the weather, hold on and “If you want to be happy, be.” – Leo Tolstoy