Dysthymia, sometimes referred to as a form of chronic depression, is a less severe form of depression but the depression symptoms linger for a long period of time, typically years. Those who suffer from dysthymia are usually able to function normally, but seem consistently unhappy.

It is common for a person with dysthymia to also develop superimposed periods of depression, which then lessen without fully going away. This is called "double depression."

 Symptoms of Dysthymia:

Symptoms of dysthymia include:

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Loss of interest in activities or the ability to enjoy oneself

  • Excessive feelings of guilt or worthlessness

  • Loss of energy or fatigue Difficulty concentrating, thinking or making decisions

  • Changes in appetite

  • Thoughts of death or suicide

  • Dysthymia differs from major depression in that dysthymia involves fewer of the above symptoms than occurs in major depression. To be diagnosed with dysthymia, symptoms must persist for at least two years in adults or one year in children or adolescents.

Depressive Disorder with Seasonal Pattern

Depressive Disorder with Seasonal Pattern, formerly called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a subtype of major depressive disorder that recurs each year at the same time, usually starting in fall or winter and ending in spring or early summer. It is more than just "the winter blues" or "cabin fever." A rare form of depressive disorder with seasonal pattern, known as "summer depression," begins in late spring or early summer and ends in fall.

Symptoms of Depressive Disorder with Seasonal Pattern

People who suffer from a depressive disorder with seasonal pattern have the symptoms of a major depressive episode. These can include sadness, irritability, loss of interest in their usual activities, withdrawal from social activities, and inability to concentrate. But some symptoms of a winter pattern may be more likely to occur than in a summer pattern.

Symptoms of depression with a winter pattern may include the seasonal occurrence of:

  • Fatigue

  • Increased need for sleep

  • Decreased levels of energy

  • Weight gain

  • Increase in appetite

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Increased desire to be alone

Symptoms of depression with a summer pattern may include the seasonal occurrence of:

  • Weight loss

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Decreased appetite

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 Prevention of Depression:

Although depression is a highly treatable condition, some forms of depression may not be preventable. That's because depression may be triggered by a chemical malfunctioning in the brain. However, the latest medical studies confirm that depression may often be alleviated or sometimes prevented with good health habits.

A healthy diet, regular exercise, taking time out for fun and relaxation, not overworking, and saving time to do things you enjoy may work together to prevent a depressed mood.