Dysthymic disorder was first introduced as a category of mood disorder in 1980. Dysthymia means "ill humor." It is characterized as a mild, chronic depression lasting at least two years and affects 3 to 5 percent of all Americans. The majority of people with dysthymia also develop major depressive disorder, a state called double depression. The disorder is more prevalent in women than in men.
Essentially, dysthymic disorder is a low-grade, chronic depression. Diagnosis of dysthymic disorder requires the impairment of physical and social functioning. Treatment may include cognitive and behavioral therapy as well as pharmacotherapy, especially SSRIs.
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