Symptoms of Persistent Depressive Disorder
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For many people, severe depressive episodes make it difficult to get out of bed, carry out hygienic routines and maintain interpersonal relationships for weeks at a time. But for others, their depression symptoms are less severe but more long-term.

Persistent depressive disorder, also known as dysthymia, is similar to major depressive disorder but is characterized by milder and longer-lasting symptoms.

We’ll talk about the common symptoms of persistent depressive disorder as well as the risk factors. Then we’ll discuss how it can be treated.

Symptoms of persistent depressive disorder

Since persistent depressive disorder causes less severe symptoms than major depressive disorder, they could be easy to brush off as “no big deal.” For instance, it’s easier to think of concentration issues and low self-esteem as just part of who you are.

But by learning about common persistent depressive disorder symptoms, you can take a look at your emotions, thoughts and behaviors through a different lens. That way you can determine if you need proper treatment and resources.

Persistent depressive disorder manifests as mild to moderate versions of common depression symptoms. The severity of these symptoms can fluctuate. They can include:

  • Feeling hopeless
  • Difficulty making decisions or concentrating 
  • Social withdrawal
  • Lack of energy
  • Low appetite
  • Lack of interest in activities

You may be diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder if you have continuously felt low or relatively unhappy for at least two years. But you also must exhibit two or more other symptoms of depression. If you believe you fit these criteria, talk to your physician. They can refer you to a psychotherapist or psychiatrist for an evaluation. You can also visit our Contact Us page to ask about an assessment. 

Symptoms of persistent depressive disorder can negatively impact quality of life. They can also cause strained familial relationships, difficulty being productive at work and an increased risk of developing other mental health disorders.

Risk factors of persistent depressive disorder

Most people with major depressive disorder develop it in their 20s. However, the longevity of persistent depressive disorder often results in an earlier onset, with those affected likely to start showing symptoms during their childhood or adolescent years.

Similar to major depressive disorder, there isn’t one identifiable cause of persistent depressive disorder (PDD). Risk factors may include:

  • Brain chemistry
  • Inherited traits
  • Traumatic life events or changes
  • Having someone in your immediate family be diagnosed with major depressive disorder
  • Experiencing a stressful event, such as losing a loved one
  • Having a previous mental health disorder diagnosis

Treatment options for persistent depressive disorder

There are many different approaches that you can take to help alleviate symptoms of PDD. Some you can do on your own; others will require the assistance of a mental health care professional.

Here are some ways to help alleviate symptoms of persistent depressive disorder:

  • Eating healthy — Feeding your body the right nutrients can make a notable difference in your overall mental health. A well-balanced diet can alleviate your depression symptoms by boosting your brain function, stimulating serotonin and improving concentration.
  • Exercising regularly — By prioritizing exercise in your everyday life, you can boost both your physical and mental health. When you exercise, you can alleviate depression symptoms by reducing stress and releasing endorphins, a hormone that boosts your mood.
  • Learning your triggers — Once you become aware of your persistent depression symptoms, you can start to recognize the triggers. By acknowledging the situations that trigger your depressive symptoms, you can develop coping mechanisms to manage them in the future.
  • Psychotherapy — Once you start to recognize any form of depression symptoms, psychotherapy should be one of your first courses of action. Talking to a licensed clinical therapist will help you look at your depression from a different perspective. You’ll learn about the root issues behind your symptoms. You can also talk through the situations that may be contributing to them. You’ll develop coping mechanisms and self-care that can alleviate them.

Lightfully Behavioral Health can help treat persistent depressive disorder symptoms

All levels of depression deserve the right treatment and resources. If you believe that you align with the symptoms of persistent depressive disorder, then reach out to us at Lightfully Behavioral Health for an assessment.

Our treatment programs help you find the right amount of care for your depression. We provide evidence-based, clearly defined, data-driven and whole-person-centered care.

Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step toward alleviating your persistent depressive disorder symptoms, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

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