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What Is Dysthymic Disorder / Dysthymia?

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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