On many occasions, people confuse dysthymia with depression, despite the many differences between the two. Among these differences are intensity and duration, depression being more severe and chronic dysthymia, that is, it lasts a lifetime. To make the difference more clear, we will explain both concepts more fully.


The dysthymia is a disorder of mood that usually goes unnoticed and undiagnosed, this is because the intensity of the symptoms that is less than that of depression. It does not usually drastically affect the realization of a normalized life, so the affected person continues with their daily activities in a more or less regular way.

Sometimes this disorder appears at an early age, such as adolescence, and is confused with the person’s way of being or the stage they are living, since their personality is not fully formed, it is unstable and their feelings and emotions are out of control.

Dysthymia is a chronic condition that lasts a lifetime, although it is also true that with the help of a psychologist or a psychiatrist, through psychotherapy, its symptoms can be reduced and controlled.

Symptoms can vary greatly depending on the person who suffers from it , their age, their personality, the time that has elapsed since their appearance, etc. But as a general rule there are some that occur in most cases:

– General fatigue, both physical and psychological.

– Decreased energy.

– Sleep disorders, such as hypersomnia or insomnia.

– Increase or loss of appetite, depending on the person.

– Difficulty concentrating or retaining information.

– Increased irritability, pessimism, feelings of sadness, incapacity, etc.

– Increased level of insecurity.

– Constant negative thoughts.

– Anxiety.


The depression is a disorder of mood more serious than dysthymia , the person who suffers presents one feels listless, without enjoying the things of life, downcast, weak, extreme sadness etc.

Its symptoms directly affect the normalized rhythm of your life, interfering in your social, work, family relationships, etc. There are many types of depression , depending on the regularity of its symptoms, its origin, etc.

This disorder occurs through ups and downs , that is, alternating episodes of extreme sadness with episodes of emotional normality. To be diagnosed, these ups and downs must last for a minimum of two years.

Generally, its treatment is based on the consumption of antidepressant medications and regular consultations with a psychiatrist or a psychologist, who will conduct psychotherapy with the patient. With these aids the symptoms will diminish until they disappear and favor the realization of a normalized life.

The symptoms of depression depend directly on the person who suffers from it , their ability to manage problems, the regulation of frustration, the age of the person, the support they obtain, the triggering situation, time of appearance, etc. Some of the most common can be:

– Low self-esteem and negative self-concept.

– Feelings of being unable to continue with life and guilty for it.

– Generalized fatigue, both mental and physical.

– Eating disorders, such as loss or increase of appetite.

– Sleep disorders, such as hypersomnia or insomnia.

– Difficulty concentrating, retaining information and making decisions.

– Social isolation and breakdown of social and family relationships, etc.

– Feeling of hopelessness and acute sadness.

– Negative or suicidal thoughts.

– In the worst self-harm, even suicide or attempt to do so.

In summary:

If we focus only on the most distinctive features of both mood disorders, which determine their great level of difference based on the characteristics mentioned above, we can highlight the following:

– The level of intensity : Dysthymia has a lower intensity level of symptoms than depression.

– Type of treatment : The treatment of depression is based on the psychology and psychiatrist review plus the consumption of antidepressant medications, such as: Fluoxetine, Sertraline, Citolopram, etc; while in dysthymia, as a general rule, only periodic review is carried out.

– Its duration: While depression only lasts for a limited time or spaced in episodes, dysthymia remains constant and chronic.

– The number of symptoms : Another difference between depression and dysthymia is that it does not have as many possible symptoms as depression.

– Affection in daily life: In depression, the symptoms, being of greater intensity, directly affect the normalized rhythm of life of the affected person, interfering in their social, work, family relationships, etc; while dysthymia does not noticeably affect it.

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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