Today’s Guest Blogger is Casey Clark from Hofstra University. She explains exactly what Persistent Depressive Disorder is and how it affects her.
Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD) or also known as Dysthymia is a mood disorder that affects 3% of the population at a given time. Many people do not know what PDD is as it was more recently added to the Diagnostics and Statistics Manual for Mental Disorders as a combination between dysthymic disorder and major depressive episodes (DSM-5).
The characteristic that separates PDD from other depressive disorders is the fact that it lasts a long time. A person with PDD can have a generally low mood everyday for at least two years. In addition, women are more than 3 times likely to develop dysthymia compared to men.
If you have noticed yourself with a generally low mood over the past few years, you should go see a mental health professional to receive help. Upon visiting one of these professionals, they will assess you to understand what is going and see what they can do to best help you.
Characteristics of PDD
To be diagnosed with PDD, in addition to being depressed, two or more of the following symptoms must be present:
– Low appetite or overeating
– Insomnia or hypersomnia
– Low concentration
– Low self-esteem
There are other symptoms that one may experience that could indicate if one has the disorder.
I have seen many therapists and psychiatrists over the past couple of years and have nearly all of these symptoms to different degrees. While I still have a generally low mood most days, I have definitely noticed a change in my overall outlook on life, which is always nice to feel.
PDD is a chronic condition that can last for many years. While treatment is different for everyone, the best form of treatment has been seen through going to therapy and taking antidepressant medications.
Therapy can help one to break their negative thinking pattern, which could be exacerbating their depressive symptoms. In my case, therapy was able to help me feel less alone and recognize that although most of my days are pretty bad there is still some element of good that I can focus on.
I did not think that therapy was doing enough for me, so I decided to see a psychiatrist. I was prescribed a few antidepressants and am still in the phase of trying to find the right one. It is hard to tell what medication will work best for you until you talk with your doctor and try it out for yourself.
In addition to therapy and medication, engaging in enjoyable activities can be used to induce more positive emotions throughout the day. Some examples of this include:
– Going on a bike ride
– Talking to family and friends
PDD is a chronic condition that can make a person feel pretty hopeless if left untreated. I highly recommend going to see a trained professional if you think you are suffering from depression, anxiety, or any other mental health problem. There is no shame in receiving help and it is one of the most courageous things one can do for themselves. Some colleges offer free counseling to students, which is helpful to those of us who don’t have a lot of money. Contact your health center at your school and see what resources they have available for you to use.