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Persistent Depressive Disorder Explained: What You Need to Know

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD), also known as Dysthymia, is a long-term (chronic) type of depression. People with PDD experience low mood and other symptoms that persist for at least two years in adults or one year in children and adolescents. Unlike Major Depressive Disorder, PDD is less severe but can still significantly impact a person’s daily functioning and quality of life. This article will discuss the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for PDD.

Symptoms of Persistent Depressive Disorder

The symptoms of PDD may be less intense than those of Major Depressive Disorder, but they persist for a longer period. Common symptoms of PDD include Low mood or sadness, Loss of interest in activities that you once enjoyed, Fatigue or low energy, and Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness.

Other symptoms of persistent depressive disorder are; Difficulty concentrating, Sleep problems, loss of appetite, Low self-esteem, and Chronic irritability. In children and adolescents, the symptoms of PDD may also include physical complaints, such as headaches and stomachaches, as well as challenges in school.

Causes of Persistent Depressive Disorder

The exact cause of PDD is unknown, but it is believed to result from a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Some factors that may contribute to the development of PDD include a Family history of depression or other mood disorders, childhood trauma or abuse, chronic stress or life stressors, and substance abuse. Other causes of persistent depressive disorder are; medical conditions, such as thyroid problems or chronic pain, negative thinking patterns, and lack of social support.

Treatment of Persistent Depressive Disorder

Treating persistent depressive disorder requires a multi-faceted approach that addresses the disorder’s symptoms and underlying causes. Below are some of the common treatments for persistent depressive disorder.


Talking with a mental health professional can help individuals with PDD identify and change negative thinking patterns and develop coping skills to manage stress and other life challenges. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) are two types of therapy effective in treating PDD.


Antidepressants can help to relieve the symptoms of PDD. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants are two medications commonly used to treat depression.

Lifestyle changes

Changing one’s lifestyle can help improve mood and manage stress. Exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep are essential components of a healthy lifestyle. It’s also important to limit caffeine and alcohol, which can worsen depression symptoms.

Self-Help Strategies

Practicing self-care, such as relaxation and mindfulness, can help individuals with PDD to manage their symptoms. Joining a support group or talking with friends and family can also help provide social support.


PDD is a chronic form of depression that can significantly impact a person’s daily functioning and quality of life.  Even though it is less severe than major depression, it’s essential to seek help from a mental health professional if you think you may have PDD. With proper treatment, patients with PDD can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their overall well-being.