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What Is Dysthymic Disorder / Dysthymia?

Frequently Asked Questions


Updated January 15, 2009

According to the official US definition as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association, Dysthymic Disorder - also called Dysthymia - is "characterized by at least 2 years of depressed mood for more days than not, accompanied by additional depressive symptoms that do not meet criteria for a Major Depressive Episode."

Thus, to put it in simple terms, dysthymia is:

  • a chronic (long-term) depression
  • not severe enough to cause hospitalization or trigger suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • that affects a person more than 50% of the time
  • for more than two years.
See also: Dysthymia

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