Frequently Asked Questions About Dysthymia Vs. Depression

Have you ever heard the song In The Ghetto by Elvis Presley?

The first time I heard it was when I watched the American Idol and Taylor Hicks covered it. I was not a fan of AI by any means, but I got hooked to the song from the first verse. I remembered saying even when I was alone, “Wow! How did he know my life story?”


Without kidding, I was born in the ghetto in Chicago, which is what you call an impoverished part of the community. My mom already had two kids with two different men before I came into the world. Then, when her second baby daddy left, she became an escort girl to feed her kids. However, one of her customers got her pregnant, and she could no longer find him, so she had no choice but to raise me alone.

I knew from the beginning that I was not a blessing in my mother’s eyes. My first memory as a child was spilling food on the floor at four years old, and my mother threw a rag at me, ordering me to clean up my mess.

Some would think that was a joke. I mean, how could a toddler clean up after himself? However, not doing what Mom told me would mean spanking, so I had no choice but to chipping in with the household chores early. And as early as eight years old, I was already earning my keep by delivering newspapers to all the rich houses on the other side of the neighborhood before going to school.

Despite all that, I would say I had a great childhood. My mother was not the warmest person, but I had two big brothers who loved me and cared for me. Unfortunately, when they entered their teenage years, they decided to join a gang and commit different criminal offenses.

They were recruiting me as well, but I did not want that kind of life. They got mad at me for that, so they kicked me out of the house at 16 years old. Being a homeless teenager in the ghetto was dangerous; that’s why I started walking away from town. I did not stop until I burned through the soles of my worn-out shoes. As I slept under the bridge, I cried as I thought of how life could be so cruel to me.


Having Dysthymia

When the social services found me, they brought me to the foster system. I thought that life would be better for me there, that I would be taken care of, but all the kids pretty much already bonded with each other and decided to exclude me. In the end, I had no choice but to isolate myself from the world to avoid feeling and getting hurt.

During a random psych evaluation, though, I got diagnosed with dysthymia.

Is dysthymia a personality disorder?

Dysthymia is a depressive disorder; however, the early onset can also show the same symptoms as a depressive personality disorder, which some doctors may mistakenly diagnose. The big difference between the two conditions is the focus of the signs or symptoms used to determine a diagnosis.

Which antidepressant is best for dysthymia?

The most tolerated medicine for dysthymia is SSRIs; however, according to a systematic review published online in 2011, TCAs and monoamine oxidase inhibitors are also effective for treating dysthymia. Other treatments may be effective for this disorder, but it will still be wise to consult a doctor before taking any medications.

Can dysthymia be cured?

Although there is no specific cure for depressive disorders, many people can live a happier and healthier life with proper treatment and therapy. Of course, it is essential that anyone who is going through dysthymia can feel that there are support and love from their family and friends. So make sure that you can provide that for the people around you. You will never know who needs it until much later. 

What is the difference between PDD and MDD?

PDD or Persistent depressive disorder is a form of chronic depression that is not as severe as MDD; however, it can last longer than MDD. It can affect many different areas in your life, such as relationships, social life, and daily activities. On the other hand, MDD or Major Depressive Disorder is a common mental illness that hurts how you act, think, and feel, leading to physical and mental issues that may hinder you from proper daily functions. 

Is MDD worse than PDD?

Yes, MDD is more severe than PDD. However, PDD can last longer than MDD. MDD can cause both mental and physical decline due to the negative impacts on your cognitive functions. This can then lead to interference in your daily life, which will stop you from enjoying life as it is. So make sure that you can reach out for help when you start to experience symptoms of either PDD or MDD. Your health should come first before anything else.


How long does dysthymia last?

Dysthymia can last for an average of one year. This may vary from person to person, as dysthymia or any form of depression can be a unique experience for every individual. It can span from six months to a year or more, depending on the treatment you are getting, if any. Results of treatment for dysthymia can also last for more than a year, but there is no guarantee that this will be true for everyone. It is vital that you still have regular check-ups to make sure that you are doing okay.

Is dysthymia a form of bipolar?

Dysthymia is a form of depression, much like bipolar disorder. However, dysthymia is characterized by its persistence and for how long it can last for a person, while bipolar disorder is characterized by episodes of mania or depression or both. Either way, you can consult with a doctor to see whether you are one or the other or neither. 

How do you deal with dysthymia?

Dysthymia tends to destroy your self-esteem and self-image, so make sure that you can counter that by daily affirmations and taking good care of yourself through proper diets and exercise. Studies have shown that our mental health is directly affected by our physical health and vice versa. So when we take care of our bodies, our minds are also taken care of. Make sure that you get enough sleep, enough food and water, and that you can do things that make you feel good. Put yourself first before anyone or anything else.

Final Thoughts

As a teenager with dysthymia, I felt more depressed as I knew I would be suffering in the coming decades. I wanted to die sooner; I honestly thought of how to do it. Luckily, I got adopted by a generous couple before I turned 18 years old, and they helped me get the life I always meant to have. Dysthymia would forever be lurking around the corners, but I could handle it now.