Persistent Depressive Disorder

Persistent Depressive Disorder is a condition wherein the patient experiences mild to moderate ongoing despondency.  People having this condition feel sad or moody for most of the day. It is a seriously considered normal condition and can influence anybody regardless of their age or orientation. It is a treatable condition and can be effectively done so by taking antidepressant medication and by following a healthy lifestyle. 

PDD is also known by another name known as dysthymia or dysthymic disorder. The common question that arises when talking about the condition is whether the condition has similarities with depression or are there any significant differences that set it apart from the other medical condition. According to studies, the condition is known to last longer for more than 2 years in adults and more than 1 year in children and teens. To meet the criteria for PDD, it should not be absent for more than two months.

How Common Is This Condition?

There is no particular reason as to why a person experiences depression. It can influence anybody independent of their age or orientation. Almost 5% of the population of the United States claimed to have experienced depression at some point in their lives. Studies have shown that the Persistent Depressive Disorder condition is more common in women and in those whose family members were affected. 

What Are The Causes Of  Persistent Depressive Disorder?

There is no strong conclusion on why one experiences PDD. However, based on studies from various researches and studies it is caused due to an imbalance in the hormonal levels of the brain, especially serotonin. Serotonin is the chemical liable for mood elevation and the one that controls the feelings and sensations of an individual. The influence of this hormone also affects other functions of the body too. PDD is commonly triggered when a person undergoes any traumatic event in their life such as losing a loved one, watching someone die, losing a job, or going through a breakup. Among the various symptoms of PDD,  their overall feeling would be one of sadness, feeling low or dark. 

Other symptoms include, 

  • Feeling sad, useless, disengaged from everybody
  • Feel that their life is not worth living
  • Feeling exhausted and tired always
  • Lack of appetite or overeating
  • Have trouble concentrating
  • Have no motivation or energy to do anything
  • Low self-esteem
  • Having inconvenience at work or school
  • Difficulty sleeping or falling asleep

It is quite common for those having PDD condition to undergo major depressive disorder at least once in their lives which has a high risk of them experiencing a condition called “double depression” and failure to cope with this is what leads to an increased risk of suicide. 

How To Determine If A Person Is Suffering From PDD And If Yes, How To Treat Them?

If you feel that you are suffering from a low mood condition for a long time, talk to your healthcare provider. They might help you understand what is wrong with you and provide the appropriate treatment. There are no tests to determine that a person might be suffering from this particular type of depression so appropriate treatment and diagnosis can be provided only based on how well you express your feeling. 

The most common questions that mental health practitioners tend to ask when a person is going for treating depressive conditions are whether they are feeling sad and if yes how long does that feeling of sadness last, whether there is any particular reason that causes them to experience that feeling, whether they have trouble falling asleep or having issues with concentration,  whether they are taking any sort of drugs or medications, how long they have to experience this feeling, and whether the feeling of sadness and loneliness are fleeting or if they experience them for days. 

Apart from these questions, blood and urine tests are also done to help determine whether these emotional changes are caused due to any sort of physical condition. Once physical causes are ruled out, your doctor might recommend you to a psychiatrist to get the appropriate treatment. 

How Is PDD Treated?

The most effective way of treating this condition is by means of Cognitive behavioral therapy or talk therapy. If there are no significant improvements, your doctor might recommend antidepressants to help relieve depression. In combination with CBT, this is the most desired and effective treatment. 

Antidepressants are broadly classified into SNRIs and SNRIs. These are highly effective drugs and though it might take some time for the effect to kick in and your condition to improve, they are not recommended to be taken for more than the recommended period of time. Take them exactly as per your prescription and not a pill more or less. If you feel minor side effects, it is quite okay if they commonly occur due to the intake of the medication but make sure that these side effects do not persist or worsen. If so, consult your doctor. Do not stop taking the drugs without consulting your doctor.

Counseling is also an efficient way to deal with depressive conditions. In this therapy, a well-trained mental health practitioner will help you guide through your thoughts and behavior and will aid you in how to control them effectively. Your thoughts affect your actions and controlling those impulsive thoughts can greatly help control your behavior. 

How Can PDD Be Prevented?
There is no cure or prevention for depressive symptoms however there are ways to reduce its intensity,

  • Eating balanced and nutritious food
  • Avoid alcohol consumption
  • Stay away from recreational drugs
  • Take prescription drugs exactly as prescribed and let your doctor if there are any adverse effects that you are experiencing
  • Talk to your doctor in either case, when there is an improvement in your condition or if there is no significant improvement in your condition. 

What Is The Outlook For People Having PDD?

When undergoing treatment for PDD, patients have reported that they have experienced significant improvement in their condition, while for some, they might experience the condition throughout their life. In circumstances, if your depressive symptoms worsen, talk to your doctor and take the necessary steps. 

If you are feeling down constantly, talk to your parents or your loved ones about how you are feeling and get the required help right away. If none seem to work,m consult your doctor as they might help you with the best solution for your condition. You are in good company and there are generally individuals able to help you.

Coping With PDD:

Understandably, living with such a persistent condition is quite difficult however it would do you good to take your mind off things and engage in things that you love to do like

  • Doing things for someone else
  • Treating yourself for anything that you have accomplishes
  • Taking a stroll to clear your mind
  •  Hanging out with friends who are active and positive
  • Spending more time outdoors
  • Learning to do yoga, meditation, 
  • Engaging yourself in artwork or painting


There is nothing as untreatable. Diverting your mind to the things you love can definitely help a lot. 

If you feel tired or upset, give a heartfelt talk to your psychiatrist. If recommended medications, take the right dosage at the right time. Combining medication with a healthy lifestyle can have a significant improvement in your health. Always remember that you are not alone on this battlefield.