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Persistent Depressive Disorder

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD) is mild or moderate depression that is chronic in nature and lasts for years. If you have PDD, you may suffer from low self-esteem and feelings of hopelessness. 

With PDD, these feelings last for years and may interfere with your relationships, school, work, and daily activities. It is long-term depression in which a person's moods remain continuously low without any breaks.

Persistent depressive disorder has also been called dysthymia and chronic major depression.

Symptoms of Persistent Depressive Disorder

Although PDD is less severe than major depressive disorder, it is continuous and lasts for years. A person with PDD is likely to always be in a sad mood and is often described as a gloomy person who complains constantly and is unable to have fun.

PDD can happen to anyone at any age. In fact, 3% or more of the U.S. population is said to experience PDD at some point in their lives. PDD symptoms last a long time and can include:

  • Sadness, emptiness, or feeling down
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Low self-esteem, self-criticism, or feeling you're not capable
  • Lack of concentration
  • Problems getting things done well or on time
  • Quickly becoming annoyed, impatient, or angry
  • Avoidance of social activities
  • Feelings of guilt and worries over the past
  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Sleep problems
  • Hopelessness

Causes of Persistent Depressive Disorder

The exact cause of PDD is unknown. However, it is seen to run in families. PDD occurs more often in women. People with PDD are also likely to have an episode of major depression at some point. 

Although research is still ongoing on the causes of PDD, it may be related to low serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (brain chemical) that regulates your mood, emotions, and feelings of well-being. 

PDD may be triggered by traumatic life events, such as losing your job, the death of a loved one, or going through a breakup.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Persistent Depressive Disorder

There are no medical tests that can be used for diagnosing chronic depression. Typically, if your healthcare provider suspects chronic depression, they may interview you to find out about your symptoms.

  • Whether you feel sad for long periods
  • Identify reasons for your low mood
  • What your sleep patterns are like, and whether you have any trouble sleeping
  • Whether you have trouble concentrating
  • What types of medications you may be taking
  • How long have you had symptoms, and whether they persist

Your healthcare provider may also request blood or urine tests to rule out other causes of your symptoms.

Treatment for PDD usually combines depression medications with talk therapy or counseling. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that is often found to be very effective in the management of PDD. During CBT sessions, a therapist or psychologist helps you examine your thoughts and emotions to know how they affect your behavior.

Managing Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD) in Denver, Colorado

Don’t continue to suffer from persistent symptoms of depression. If you think you have symptoms of persistent depressive disorder, seek medical help. While managing depressive disorders can be challenging, proper care and planned treatment can help you live a fuller and richer life.

Axis Integrated Mental Health in Denver provides a full suite of integrated mental health treatments under one roof. For appointments, call us at (720) 400-7025 or fill out our contact us form today.

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