Now-a-days the feelings of melancholy and emptiness are extremely common amongst people. Depression is an inclusive term; it includes pangs of sad mood, feelings of dejection and emptiness, delusions and suicidal thoughts. Major depressive disorder and dysthymic disorder are two types of depression, which have some common symptoms. These are both mood disorders but there is a vast difference between the two due to the number of symptoms, manner of detection, intensity and treatment.
Persons suffering from major depressive disorder suffer frequent pangs of gloomy mood and they lose interest in activities usually enjoyed. Their food consumption, weight and sleeping pattern change and they get constant urges to commit suicide. Such people also lack the ability to concentrate, feel worthless more often and are frequently troubled with fatigue. Even if a person has sixty percent of the above symptoms mentioned, they are said to be suffering from major depressive disorder. To conclude that an individual is going through this disorder, they should have minimum one major depressive episode within two weeks of showing its symptoms. These symptoms should be evidently present almost everyday in those two weeks.
People suffering from dysthymic disorder have symptoms like recurring depressed mood, fatigue, inability to concentrate, extreme under-confidence, despondency. Their appetite change thus resulting in weight fluctuations and their sleep is also affected. If any person possesses one third of the above symptoms, they are said to be suffering from dysthymia or dysthymic disorder. It is not just “slight” depression but is a severe disorder. People sometimes mistake it to be more than casual depression but less than major depression, while the fact is that it can have far worse effects than major depression. Dysthymia also known as chronic depression can be detected only if the symptoms are visibly present in an individual for a period of two years. It should be present for maximum days in two years and the minimum period for which an individual should hold these symptoms is two months in those two years.
Difficult childhood, traumatic events, isolation, stress; certain physical illness can all cause major depressive disorder as well as chronic depression. As a matter of fact, dysthymia is a hereditary disorder and is extremely common amongst the masses. A survey reveals that more women than men are susceptible to this disorder. Detecting it is one of the biggest difficulties like, sometimes a person is just quiet and recluse, that is his basic personality and it can be mistaken as dysthymia. It scientifically proven that most of the chronic depression patients also suffer through some severe physical ailment or some other psychiatric condition like anxiety disorder, drug addiction, etc. For example, drug addiction causes depression and depression can cause heart diseases.
Treatment for both the disorders is essential. It should be made sure that a patient does not remain untreated or undertreated. Support of friends and family is extremely necessary; in fact it is needed more in such cases than in physical illness. Therefore, one should always be attentive if they notice any bizarre symptoms or excessive mood swings in their loved ones.