Dysthymia (dysthmic disorder) is a mild form of chronic depression that refers to long-term symptoms that are not disabling, but keep you from functioning at “full steam” or from feeling good. Sometimes, people with dysthymia also experience major depressive episodes.

With dysthymia, you might lose interest in normal, everyday activities. People may see you as overly critical, constantly complaining, and not able to have fun.

Symptoms of Dysthmia

Dysthymia’s symptoms can come and go over the years, and their intensity can change, too.

The symptoms typically last at least two years and may include:

  • Avoiding social events
  • Decreased activity, effectiveness, and productivity
  • Feeling down or sad
  • Feeling guilt and worries about the past
  • Feeling of hopelessness
  • Irritability or excessive anger
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Low self-esteem, self-criticism, or feeling incapable
  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Sleep problems
  • Tiredness and a lack of energy
  • Trouble concentrating and making decisions

Children and adults can be affected by dysthymia. In children, it sometimes occurs along with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities, anxiety disorders, or developmental disabilities.

Symptoms of dysthymia in children include:

  • Behavior problems
  • Irritability
  • Low self-esteem
  • Pessimistic attitude
  • Poor performance in school
  • Poor social skills

Get Help for Dysthmia

If you or a loved one is experiencing signs of dysthymia or has experienced a long-term, chronic depression, talk to a UT Southwestern mental health physician. Proper diagnosis and treatment can help you get more enjoyment out of life.

Request an Appointment

To schedule an appointment at UT Southwestern's facilities in Dallas or for more information, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.