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Dysthymic Disorder Symptoms DSM-IV

 Dysthymic disorder is very similar to depression; however the symptoms are less severe and occur over at least a two-year time period.

DSM IV (APA 1994), states that for a diagnosis of dysthymia a person must have a range of symptoms, which must impair and impinge upon their daily functioning. These symptoms include a depressed mood for most of the day, which is present on most days for at least two years. While the individual is experiencing depressed mood they should also experience at least two of the following symptoms:

poor appetite or overeating;

insomnia (lack of sleep, inability to get to sleep and/or early morning wakening) or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping);

low energy or fatigue;

low self-esteem;

poor concentration or difficulty making decisions; or

feelings of hopelessness. During the two years they have been feeling depressed the individual should not have been free from feeling depressed or from two of the six symptoms for more than two months at any one time and they should not meet the criteria for a ‘major depressive episode’ during the two-year period. Additionally there should never have been a ‘manic episode’, a ‘mixed episode’ or a ‘hypomanic episode’, and criteria for ‘cyclothymic disorder’ (these disorders are discussed later in this chapter). The symptoms should also: not occur during the course of a chronic psychotic disorder, such as schizophrenia or delusional disorder; not be due to the direct physiological effects of a substance, for example a street drug or a prescribed medication; and not be due to a general medical condition, for example hypothyroidism which can produce symptoms of depressed mood.

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