Depression is a mental illness that affects millions of people around the world. There are different types of depression, and persistent depressive disorder (PDD) is one of them. PDD is a long-term form of depression that lasts for two years or more. In this blog post, we will provide a comprehensive overview of persistent depressive disorder, including its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.
- 1 What Is Persistent Depressive Disorder?
- 2 What Are The Risk Factors?
- 3 What Are The Side Effects?
- 4 How Can Therapies Help?
- 5 How Can Medications Help?
- 6 How Can Developing Positive Habits Help?
- 7 Conclusion
What Is Persistent Depressive Disorder?
PDD, also known as dysthymia, is a relatively common mood disorder that is characterized by a persistent low mood and/or loss of interest or pleasure in activities.
PDD usually begins in adolescence or young adulthood and can last for years.
The most common symptom of persistent depressive disorder is a persistent low mood. Other symptoms may include:
- feelings of hopelessness, guilt, or worthlessness
- loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed
- trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- changes in appetite or weight
- fatigue and decreased energy
- difficulty concentrating
- physical symptoms such as headaches or digestive problems.
Persistent depressive disorder can be a very debilitating condition, causing significant distress and impairment in many areas of functioning.
What Are The Risk Factors?
There are many risk factors that can cause persistent depressive disorder. Some of these include:
A History Of Depression
A history of depression may cause persistent depressive disorder. For example, if a person has had multiple episodes of major depression, they may be at risk for persistent depressive disorder.
Additionally, if a person has had a single episode of major depression that lasted for two years or longer, they may also be at risk for persistent depressive disorder.
Anxiety, Or Other Mood Disorders
Anxiety and other mood disorders may cause persistent depressive disorder by affecting the chemicals in the brain that are responsible for mood regulation. For example, if someone has an anxiety disorder, they may experience persistent worry and fear which can lead to feelings of depression.
Other mood disorders such as bipolar disorder or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can also cause persistent depressive symptoms. People with these disorders may have extreme highs and lows in their mood which can make it difficult to maintain a stable emotional state.
Stressful Life Events
Stressful life events, abuse, or trauma can cause persistent depressive disorder. For example, if you experience a traumatic event, such as a natural disaster or the death of a loved one, you may develop a persistent depressive disorder.
If you’re abused or neglected as a child, you’re also at risk of developing the condition. it’s believed that they may change the way your brain regulates mood and cope with stress.
Perfectionists often have difficulty completing tasks because they cannot meet their own high standards. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem, which are both risk factors for depression.
Finally, people who are perfectionists tend to be highly critical of themselves. This self-criticism can eventually take a toll on one’s mental health and well-being, leading to persistent depressive disorder.
Living In Poverty
People who live in poverty are more likely to experience a persistent depressive disorder. There are a number of reasons why people who live in poverty are more likely to experience a persistent depressive disorder.
People living in poverty often have limited access to mental health care and other resources that could help them manage their depression. Additionally, those living in such a poor condition tend to experience more stressors than those who do not, because of financial insecurity, food insecurity, and exposure to violence.
Rumination On Negative Thoughts
Rumination is defined as a repetitive and persistent pattern of thinking that focuses on the negative aspects of a situation. It has been suggested that rumination may play a role in PDD by:
- worsening the negative mood state,
- making it difficult to disengage from negative thoughts,
- preventing the individual from focusing on more positive or constructive thoughts and activities.
What Are The Side Effects?
The side effects of persistent depressive disorder can be debilitating and have a profound impact on every aspect of an individual’s life. The most common symptoms include:
Loss Of Interest In Activities
Individuals with PDD often lose interest in activities that were once enjoyed and may have difficulty functioning in their daily lives. This can include hobbies, social activities, work, or school. The symptoms of PDD can vary from mild to severe, and the condition can last for weeks, months, or years.
Significant Changes In Appetite Or Weight
There are a number of ways in which persistent depressive disorder can result in significant changes in appetite or weight. For example, people with this condition may find that their appetites are significantly reduced, leading to weight loss.
Alternatively, they may find that their appetites are increased, leading to weight gain. In some cases, people with the persistent depressive disorder may even experience swings in appetite and weight, depending on the severity of their condition.
Sleeping Too Much Or Not Enough
Those with persistent depressive disorder may find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. They may also wake up feeling exhausted. It’s not uncommon for people with a persistent depressive disorder to either sleep too much or not enough.
This can be due to a number of factors, including poor sleeping habits, comorbid conditions like anxiety or depression, and medications. People with the persistent depressive disorder may also find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep, which can lead to fatigue during the day. In some cases, excessive daytime sleepiness may be a sign of narcolepsy.
Fatigue And Low Energy
Persistent depressive disorder can make everyday tasks feel insurmountable and incredibly daunting.
There are many possible explanations for how PDD can lead to fatigue and low energy levels. One possibility is that the depressed mood associated with PDD can itself be exhausting, both physically and mentally. Additionally, people with PDD often have difficulty sleeping, which can lead to fatigue. Finally, certain medications used to treat PDD can also cause fatigue as a side effect.
Persistent depressive disorder can make it hard to focus on anything other than the negative thoughts swirling around in one’s head.
One reason is that people with PDD often have negative biases in their thinking, which can lead them to interpret things in a negative light and pay more attention to negative information.
Additionally, persistent depressive disorder is associated with lower levels of activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain responsible for executive functioning skills like concentration, planning, and organization. This can make it harder for people with a persistent depressive disorder to focus on tasks and complete them efficiently.
Feeling Worthless Or Guilty
Someone with persistent depressive disorder may believe that they are a bad person because they cannot seem to be happy like other people. They may also feel guilty for not being able to do things that others can do, or for not being able to meet the expectations of others.
These feelings can lead to a sense of hopelessness and despair. People with the persistent depressive disorder may also have low self-esteem and trouble seeing any good in themselves. These negative beliefs about oneself can become very entrenched and difficult to change.
Thoughts Of Death Or Suicide
Persistent depressive disorder can lead to dark and dangerous thoughts.
People with this disorder may dwell on thoughts of death or suicide. They may feel that life is not worth living and that there is no hope for the future. These negative thinking patterns can be extremely persistent, making it hard for people to see any positive aspects of their lives. In some cases, the persistent depressive disorder can lead to suicidal ideation or attempts.
How Can Therapies Help?
Therapy can help people with persistent depressive disorder learn how to cope with their condition. It can also help people with PDD learn new skills and ways of thinking that can help improve their mood and reduce their symptoms.
Some examples of therapies that can be helpful for the persistent depressive disorder include:
Psychotherapy is at the heart of treatment for PDD, also known as dysthymia. This form of therapy can help you understand and work through your chronic low moods. It can also teach you how to manage stress and deal with challenging life circumstances in more positive ways.
CBT is one type of psychotherapy that has been found to be particularly helpful for persistent depressive disorder. It helps you identify negative thinking patterns and teaches you how to replace them with more realistic and positive thoughts. This can help improve your mood and give you a greater sense of control over your life.
Another example of therapy is interpersonal therapy. IPT focuses on your relationships with others and can help identify and address any interpersonal issues that may be contributing to your persistent depressive disorder. It can also teach you how to communicate more effectively and build healthier relationships.
Another example includes problem-solving treatment (PST). This type of therapy helps you identify and find solutions to specific problems that may be contributing to your persistent depressive disorder. It can also help you develop coping skills for dealing with future stressors and challenges.
Behavioral Activation Therapy
Finally, the last example is Behavioral Activation Therapy. It focuses on increasing your level of activity and engagement in life. The treatment helps improve your mood by giving you a sense of accomplishment and helping you to avoid rumination.
Medication can be an effective way to manage the symptoms of persistent depressive disorder. Antidepressants may be prescribed to help relieve low mood, increase energy levels, and improve sleep. It’s important to work closely with your doctor to find the right medication and dosage for you.
How Can Medications Help?
While therapy is the cornerstone of treatment for persistent depressive disorder, there are also other important components.
Medications can help with PDD by reducing the symptoms of depression. They can also help improve mood, sleep, and appetite. Medications may also help reduce anxiety and improve concentration.
Some examples of medications include :
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): They can help improve mood and reduce anxiety. Examples of SSRIs include fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), escitalopram (Lexapro), and citalopram (Celexa).
- Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs): TCAs are an older type of antidepressant that is not as commonly prescribed as SSRIs. They can be effective at reducing symptoms of depression, but they can also have more side effects than SSRIs. Examples of TCAs include amitriptyline (Elavil) and nortriptyline (Pamelor).
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs): MAOIs are a less common type of antidepressant that can be effective for people who do not respond to other types of medication. However, MAOIs can have serious side effects and must be used with caution. Examples of MAOIs include phenelzine (Nardil) and tranylcypromine (Parnate).
- St. John’s wort: St. John’s wort is a dietary supplement that is sometimes used to treat depression. It is important to talk to your doctor before taking St. John’s wort, as it can interact with other medications.
Some people with PDD may need to take medication for a long time. If you have a persistent depressive disorder and are thinking about taking medication, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking medication. You should also tell your doctor if you have any other medical conditions or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding as the prescriptions may vary accordingly.
How Can Developing Positive Habits Help?
Lifestyle changes can be very effective in treating persistent depressive disorder. Some simple lifestyle changes that can help include:
Exercise has been shown to be helpful in treating depression. It releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. It also helps to improve sleep, increase energy levels, and reduce stress.
A healthy diet can help improve the symptoms of PDD in a few ways. First, eating nutrient-rich foods helps to support a healthy body and mind, which can help reduce the overall impact of stressors.
Additionally, certain nutrients have been shown to be particularly supportive of mental health; for example, omega-three fatty acids are essential for brain health, and low levels have been linked with increased risk for depression.
There are many different types of journaling, and each can be helpful in its own way. For example, some people find it helpful to write down their thoughts and feelings in a private journal, while others may prefer to express themselves through creative writing or drawing.
Some people keep a daily journal to track their moods and progress, while others only journal when they feel the need. No matter what type of journaling you choose, the important thing is that you make it a regular habit.
Spending time in nature
There are many ways that spending time in nature can help to overcome the persistent depressive disorder. It can help to increase levels of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that is associated with feelings of well-being and happiness.
Those who spend time in nature have higher levels of serotonin than those who do not. Moreover spending time in nature can help to overcome persistent depressive disorder by reducing stress levels.
People who self-groom tend to have lower levels of PDD. This is because self-grooming helps to reduce stress and anxiety, which are two of the main symptoms of persistent depressive disorder.
Self-grooming also helps to improve one’s mood and sense of well-being. This is because when we take care of our appearance, it makes us feel good about ourselves. When we feel good about ourselves, it helps to increase our self-esteem and confidence.
Getting enough sleep is crucial for both physical and mental health. Depression can cause insomnia, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough rest.
The above described are some of the examples of positive lifestyle changes which you can bring in order to remain persistent depressive disorder free.
Persistent depressive disorder is a difficult but manageable problem. It takes a lot of effort to get better, but it is possible with the right treatment plan and support system. If you or someone you know is struggling with it, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. There are many resources available to get you started on the road to recovery.
Never suffer in silence because PDD is a real and serious problem that should be treated by a professional. If you are feeling continuous low moods, or have any other symptoms of this subtype of depression, please reach out for help. Your precious life is worth living, and there is a road available to recovery. You deserve to live a happy, fulfilling life.
Professional Guidance is the first step in order to move toward your healing journey. You can try reaching Mantra Care to seek expert help in the comfort of your own home. Our therapists will help you get a solution to manage and overcome your problem. You can book your online therapy and talk directly to your assigned mentor. You may also download our free Android or iOS app.