Dysthymia - Chronic Depression

Many of us at least know firsthand what depression is and a lot less people know about dysthymia. So what is dysthymia? Dysthymia is the younger brother of depression. If during a depression it is difficult or almost impossible for a person to lead a normal, active, full-fledged lifestyle, then you can live with dysthymia for years and even dozens of years. Moreover, it is not easy to find any signs of the disease. And even doctors find it difficult to diagnose, because it is not always possible to discern dysthymia.

What is dysthymia, its symptoms: firstly, it is a chronically low mood, when a person really has little or nothing to be pleased with. There are practically no reasons for this bad mood, rather, on the contrary, there is a lot to feel happy, but there is no feeling of happiness. Paradox. Someone may say that a person is “mad with fat” or does not appreciate what he has. But the reasons are actually much deeper and more serious, and the symptoms too.

These are problems with falling asleep, appetite, reduced self-esteem, hopelessness, lack of energy, indecision and other related disorders, such as increased anxiety, panic attacks, somatic diseases, excessive drinking, use of psychotropic drugs and others.

So, a little test for dysthymia.

    For each positive response, earn yourself one point:

  • 1.Are you hard to please?
  • 2.Do you often have a bad, depressed mood?
  • 3.Do you rarely smile while feeling real joy?
  • 4.Is it difficult for you to have fun carefree, disconnecting from all problems?
  • 5.Do you live without expecting any joy in life?
  • 6.Do you rate life in general in pessimistic tones?
  • 7.Does life seem pretty hard to you?
  • 8.Do you often come up with dark thoughts?
  • 9.Does life seem meaningless to you?
  • 10.Do you quickly despair?
  • 11.Do you quickly despair?
  • 12.Do you often have a sense of guilt for different reasons?
  • 13.Is your feeling of insecurity inherent?
  • 14.Admitting your failures, do you feel a sense of shame?
  • 15.In the conversation you are not very talkative?
  • 16.You do not like jokes?
  • 17.Do you feel uncomfortable in the presence of happy, successful people?
  • 18.Are you indifferent to good sunny weather?

Add all positive answers. This is what happens: 15 or more positive answers indicate dysthymia, which can turn into depression if you do not take active measures in time. From 14 to 11 points - you have a borderline with dysthymia. And less than 11 points - dysthymia does not threaten you.

For the treatment of dysthymia, drugs alone are not enough, and often they can only harm, worsen a person's condition after discontinuation of drugs.

Dysthymia manifests itself as a sense of hopeless gray everyday life, it seems everything has flooded the routine. Everything goes on for a long time already, without any changes, bright flashes. But real signs of these possible changes are not foreseen in the near future. By the way, the diagnosis of dysthymia is made if the above symptoms and, first of all, the main of them - chronically low mood take place over the past two years or more. You do not need to consider a temporary bad mood and the presence of only a few of the described symptoms as signs of dysthymia that you have!

Tendency to dysthymia can be hereditary, as a rule, dysthymia is more often exposed to people whose parents did not encourage their good mood, equating fun to frivolity, irresponsibility and even nonsense. And they themselves lived on the same principle, considering also not allowing it to once again smile, rejoice at the successes and happy events of life in view of their “short duration, fluctuation and transience”.

Treatment of dysthymia or how to cope with dysthymia on their own, not allowing it to develop into depression.

1. Dysthymy are more susceptible to those who live in the environment of pessimistic people who indirectly or directly dictate to them their rules of life: to live like everyone else, do not lean out, do not dream and do not strive to fulfill their desires. Therefore, it would be logical in this case to “inventory” your acquaintances with the subsequent exclusion from their number of the most dismal, hopelessly tuned, or at least filter the information you receive from them.

2. As already mentioned, dysthymia often suffers from people who, as a first approximation, have a good, settled and settled life. Analyze your actions and feelings lately, and if you find yourself too devotedly devoted to some activities, but you don’t even get pleasure, you have to think about whether you need them. Sometimes dysthymia is disguised as excessive employment, when the quantity does not benefit the quality: you do not have time to feel the joy, to feel satisfaction from each of the work done.

3. Determine your priorities, write down three tasks that you would like to perform for this (next) year. The only condition is that there should not be material achievements. No salary increase, no new car or flat. Rather, they are life-giving values ​​that increase self-esteem. For example, to pay more attention to your close circle, your health, to find meaning in what you do every day.

4. Happy person makes communication, but only quality. What follows from this? In life, you need to try to keep a balance: be able to provide help, assistance, show sympathy and at the same time ask for help, openly express your feelings, not ashamed that someone might not understand you correctly. Only in flowing reservoirs is the cleanest and freshest water, but if you only “let in” other people's experiences, or constantly complain to others, or do not do this or that, the harmony in communication disappears and the overall quality of life decreases. It is necessary to learn how to equally manifest themselves in different roles, while correctly choosing interlocutors. But there would be a desire, and there will be the right people.

5. Happy people makes not only the achievement of goals, but also the desire for new goals. Therefore, when the main goals are achieved, for example, a higher education is received, a family is created, there is good work and healthy children, a feeling of inner emptiness may arise. A passive enjoyment of the works of work does not bring joy. We need to constantly strive for something. Therefore, it is worthwhile to ensure that you always have some new goals in stock that meet your internal needs.

    And a few purely practical recommendations in order to fill your life with bright colors and joyful experiences:

  • Do what you never did, but wanted to do.
  • Think of your old friends and call them, find out how they are doing.
  • Talk to a stranger on the street, ask about something or say a compliment.
  • Get to a beautiful place: a corner of nature or an exhibition, a conference, any unusual place that charges you with new impressions. And go there, without delay.
  • Try as often as possible to touch the people with whom you communicate. Start with active gestures, if the first is bad for you.
  • Do this exercise several times during the day: every hour take a deep breath with your stomach and a deep long breath out with your mouth.
  • Several times during the day, note what your facial expression is now and consciously relax your facial muscles. Then, if you want, smile. Straighten your shoulders, straighten your back.
  • During the day, fix your attention several times on the feet. Feel the weight of your body resting on the ground, feel the contact of your foot with the sole, with the floor.
  • Choose a person (one, two or more) and express your admiration to him, tell me how you appreciate what he does.
  • To heal a past wound, call the person who hurt you and talk to him about it. Or write him a letter - you don’t even need to send it if you don’t want to.
  • During the day, try not to make judgments (neither good nor bad) about what you do, say or what others say and do. Perceive everything as without value, just listen to the sensations of your body, notice in which part of it you feel a response to what is happening.
  • Find time in the evening and not distracting anything, look at the starry sky. Remember the dreams of your childhood. What do you dream now, what do you want? ..
  • Hang a note on the door of the refrigerator or in front of your desk: “I have the right to be myself.” When your eyes fall on the note, repeat it yourself written several times.


Anhedonia is a condition characterized by a complete lack of pleasure or partial loss of experiencing and enjoying life as well as everything that happens. At the same time, a person loses activity, motivation for activities that previously usually brought pleasure. This activity includes sports, music, hobbies, sexual activity and various social interactions.

Anhedonia refers to an abnormal state of mind. The term was first introduced by T. Ribot in 1886 to describe liver diseases. In the future, it began to use Kraepelin and Bleuler in the description of the emotional defect of schizophrenia. A similar term “social agnosia”, manifested in the inability of the psychopathic personality to experience the joy and pleasure of life, introduced Wilhelm Reich into psychoanalysis.


Other researchers believe that anhedonia is not a sign of schizophrenia, but a consequence of mental disorders and a low socioeconomic as well as educational level. However, it is noticed that anhedonia is also observed in somatic disorders. The lack of pleasure is attributed by researchers to a part of various syndromes - dementia, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). And anhedonia is not considered a disorder, but only a symptom of a disorder.

Anhedonia is manifested in a pronounced degree in narcissuses and in borderline personalities. Individuals of the first category need to receive feelings of love on the rise. Yesterday’s level of love is not enough for them, and after parting with their watering, the sick person can become depressed. People with borderline disorders also quickly cease to feel loved and accepted, and this is a start to changes in relationships. They are not enough that they have, and they arrange a provocation partner in order to feel loved. At some point an explosion occurs when the patients do not feel anything. It happens that a person often gets into the habit of destroying the feeling of pleasure on his own. After feeling pleasant, he is alarmed, gives in to doubts about the right to feel and asks the question: what was it?

The cause of the disease is mental disorders: schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety disorder, depersonalization and other personality disorders. The reason is the tendency to burden yourself with problems not only with your own, but also with other people's concerns. Persons suffering from anhedonia decide most life issues on their own and often blame themselves for all the failures. They strive to do everything as best as possible and if this does not work out, then the feeling of dissatisfaction instills pessimism in them, and also reduces the emotional background. Often suffer honest, conscientious, responsible people.

The reason for all is that the pleasure center in the brain is turned off, which leads to an inability to experience pleasant sensations and joy. With a lack of hormones of joy - endorphins, a person seeks to fill them with emotional doping (alcohol and drugs), although this can be done in another way.

Anhedonia symptoms

Anhedonia sneaks up unnoticed. Initially boring favorite affairs, and then completely cease to please. Then it turns out that life is not happy in all its manifestations: gifts, shopping, meeting with friends do not give the effect that was before. Often joins orgasmic anhedonia - the lack of pleasure from sex.

Often, paranoia and anhedonia are interrelated. This is observed when a person stays in heightened tension for a long time, and then there is a breakdown and the world becomes gray, joyless, insignificant after the experienced stress. It happens that a small separate category of people because of pessimism is not able to enjoy life. For people prone to this state, the main feature is peculiar - the inability to enjoy life. Most people suffer from innate pessimism. By mistake, experts diagnose depression in those who are sick, trying to treat it with antidepressants, which only aggravate the situation and worsen their health.

The feeling of life, determined by emotions, directly depends on the state of being in harmony with oneself, as well as the people around us. Many people suffering from this disorder are not able to experience joyful emotions.

Social anhedonia is manifested as a sign of disinterest in social contacts and is marked by social isolation, as well as a decrease in pleasure from social situations. This characteristic usually extends to indifference to other people.

Social anhedonia often develops against the background of social phobia. Usually a social phobia has social contacts. Among these contacts there are people who relate to him very well and are friendly towards him. In this case, anxiety in the process of communication arises in narrow situations (speaking to audiences). But the angedonic ignores what he has and is not happy about what he has. He believes that his friends, his wife do not communicate with him at all, he is not touched by love and attention. He is always looking for new people for relationships, but again this does not bring pleasure.

Anhedonia treatment

The disease is quite difficult to treat, with the main therapeutic methods aimed at replenishing the body's serotonin and endorphin - the hormone of joy.

Treatment includes the obligatory condition to seek and receive joy from everything, including minor events, meetings and impressions. From early morning fix your attention on the sun glare, on the awakening of nature. Effective in the treatment of anhedonia can make a walk through the park, in places of childhood filled with joyful memories.

Treatment of anhedonia includes: controlling the night's sleep - at least 8 hours, good nutrition, including fruit and chocolate, watching fun TV shows, shopping, active dancing and sports. In the absence of effect, resort to the help of specialists who will offer you psychotherapeutic methods for treatment. It is not recommended to prescribe yourself the treatment in the form of tablets from anhedonia.


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