Persistent Depressive Disorder

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Persistent depressive disorder (PDD), formerly known as dysthymia, is a fairly new diagnosis in DSM 5 that is characterized by chronic depression. PDD combines two earlier diagnoses, chronic major depressive disorder and dysthymia.

Like other forms of depression, people with PDD may experience feelings of deep sadness or even hopelessness or helplessness. While these symptoms are present in all forms of depression, in PDD they may persist for many years. The symptoms of persistent depressive disorder are very similar to major depressive disorder and so won’t be listed. However, these symptoms are chronic, meaning that people have these depressive symptoms most days for a period of at least two years for adults and one year for children and teens. Think of a black cloud sitting over your head raining down upon you for over two years or more.

While people with major depressive disorder may have days or periods where they feel better, those with dysthymia have depressive symptoms almost all the time for a long time. The black cloud never leaves.


  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy
  2. Medications including SSRI’s or SNRI’s
  3. St. Johns wort in mild cases
  4. Diet and exercise
  5. Social planning with friends
  6. Stress management


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