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Re: Difference between dysthymia and depression

Posted by Sean on April 15, 1999, at 16:45:00

In reply to Difference between dysthymia and depression, posted by Mare on April 15, 1999, at 8:41:59

> I am confused about the difference. About 3 years ago I had some counselling (no meds yet) to handle the breakup with a long-time boyfriend. My therapist told me I had dysthymia, but described it to me as a pessimistic way of approaching life, NOT depression. She gave me a little bit of literature, mostly of the Good Housekeeping magazine type, that confirmed what she said. Well, my pessimistic outlook continued, and I blamed myself for not being more of an optimist. I recently returned to a DIFFERENT therapist (thank God). I told her I had been told I was dysthmic in the past. And this therapist diagnosed me as being clinically depressed. This was all within the first 10 minutes of our first appointment. I am now on Celexa, and feeling GREAT. Can sometime tell me, in LAYMEN'S terms, what happened. Was I misdiagnosed? Sounds like it to me! I am still confused about this issue. Thank you!

Psychiatry is getting closer to solving the
dysthymia-depression debate. Dr. Hagop Akiskal has
done some really good research into this and he
thinks that dysthymia is its own disease, rather
than just a muted form of major depression or
a personality "trait".

Dysthymia seems to hit people younger than maj.
dep. and is often characterized by "atypical"
symptoms. It also seems to be related to bipolar
disease in terms of physiology. Many people with
dysthymia, when questioned, do seem to have
periods of excessive energy and elation, though
not manic in the classic sense.

Dysthymics also seem to overshoot on their meds,
which also fits more in with the bipolar model.

The main thing I would like to communicate is that
dysthymia is not "your fault" and is not any less
of a diagnosis than major depression. In fact,
given the early onset and chronic course, not to
mention the possibility that dysthymia may be
an early marker for some forms of BPD, it exacts
an enormous toll on a persons life.

Does this help? Never blame yourself; just get
busy recovering and moving forward with your life!
The best part may be yet to come...





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