Most depression is short lived from days to weeks but when it lasts more than two years the medical term is dysthymia or dysthymic disorder. There are persons who are just always in a state of depression, suffering from dysthymia for several years.
This is not usually extreme cases of depression but more middle of the road to mild. The majority of persons who suffer from this disorder really have no concept when it all started.
Those who suffer from this disorder are prone to being despondent and probably have problems with sleeplessness or always being sleepy because of fatigue and very little energy to make it through the day. Eating disorders go hand in hand with this disorder with either not wanting to eat or eating all the time.
Persons with this disorder have periods of time where they function normally, sometimes for a couple months at a time. It is also common for those who are close to the person to not even be aware they are suffering from depression. This is not an extreme type of condition but it still takes it toll on normal activities for the person suffering from the disorder whether at work or home or at school.
This is the kind of disorder that will affect about three percent of the population and may even begin in the early, formative years. The reasons it happens are not clear but for some reason it does seem to be more prevalent in females than males.
The one thing that is understood by the experts about dysthymic disorder is that there are changes that take place in the brain due to the chemical called serotonin. This is the chemical that helps the brain in the process of decision making and processing emotional responses.
For your health care professional to make a proper analysis of your condition, should you feel you do suffer from dysthymia, is a matter of asking you a lot of questions about your concerns.
You may have trouble sleeping or concentrating or have a lot of fatigue. These are things that can be caused by many medical issues and your physician will have to determine if you are depressed or suffering from another concern like a thyroid condition.
The treatment that is commonly used for the dysthymic disorder is an antidepressant medication. This is intended to alleviate the symptoms of depression. This is not a habit-forming kind of medication but it does cause the person taking it to have a euphoric feeling.
Taking an antidepressant may take several weeks or months before showing positive effects. The directions for using this medication need to be strictly followed. Taking this medication may be a matter of years, a way of life, but it will make you feel better.
There will come a point in time when you feel really well and the temptation will be there to discontinue taking the medication but this decision needs to be left up to your health care professional.
For many individuals, both counseling and medication are the best way to return to normal living. Exercise, well balanced eating, finding fun hobbies and fun activities, and avoiding alcohol and drugs will speed up the healing process.