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What Is Dysthemic Disorder?
The essential feature of persistent depressive disorder (dysthemia) is a depressed mood that occurs for most of the day, for more days than not, for at least 2 years, or at least 1 year for children and adolescents (Criterion A). This disorder represents a consolidation of DSM-IV- defined chronic major depressive disorder and dysthemic disorder. Major depression may precede persistent depressive disorder, and major depressive episodes may occur during persistent depressive disorder. Individuals whose symptoms meet major depressive disorder criteria for 2 years should be given a diagnosis of persistent depressive disorder as well as major depressive disorder.
Individuals with persistent depressive disorder describe their mood as sad or "down in the dumps." During periods of depressed mood, at least two of the six symptoms from Criterion B are present. Because these symptoms have become a part of the individual's day-to-day experience, particularly in the case of early onset (e.g., "I've always been this way"), they may not be reported unless the individual is directly prompted. During the 2-year period (1 year for children or adolescents), any symptom-free intervals last no longer than 2 months (Criterion C).*
*Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-5. 5th ed. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 2013. 463. Print