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Trying to figure out whether I have dysthymia or not. Anyone with dysthymia who can tell me more about it?
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bladema posted:
I just turned 20 years old and have been going to a counselor for a couple of years now. She works with people who have this disorder and she thinks after knowing me and seeing everything I have gone through, she says now that I am an adult she has seen the same patterns in me as she does with people with dysthymia. I was socially withdrawn for quite a long time (still do when I have episodes of depression), low self-esteem, and do sometimes feel hopeless. I can also get quite irritable and moody sometimes and I've been like this for years. I am on the lowest dosage of Zoloft right now and when I take it regularly it seems to help as has therapy. I also feel better when I socialize and exercise, but I find it hard for me to do all three. I don't have major depression or any physical symptoms (accept maybe excessive sleeping sometimes). I have always felt a little depressed on a pretty daily basis for years now and there is a history of bipolar type 1 disorder in my family. What do you think? Do you agree with her? I guess I'm just afraid to label myself with a disorder because I feel like that would be saying there is something wrong with me. However, when I feel depressed, I know that is not who I am deep down. I don't know. I am so confused. Should I talk to my doctor and try to get diagnosed (doc prescribes me Zoloft) or should I just forget about it? Help please
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lexismom11 responded:
Does a psychiatrist prescribe your meds? If so he or she should have a diagnosis on file for you. If not, asking your primary doctor for a referral to a psychiatrist would help. All I can say is it sounds like you do have bouts of depression as you have said. Your counselor could very well be right as she would have the experience of working with mental illness.

As far as being worried about a label, don't be. A label could be a positive thing for you because you don't have to worry about what illness you have. You can focus on treating the symptoms and learning how to manage it. It is something that you learn to live with and don't let it control your life. That's not all you are.
 
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itmatsb responded:
You say, "However, when I feel depressed, I know that is not who I am deep down." Depression is an illness. Not a definition of who you are, any more than a diabetic person is some definition of who they are. A medical diagnosis is needed to properly treat you. There are many millions of people in this country who take anti-depressants to treat depression. It certainly sounds like you do suffer from chemical depression and be glad that the Zoloft helps you. Perhaps you would feel even better if the dose was increased. It is surprising to me when people, especially as young as you are, are afraid that a diagnosis of depression is a problem. It's a solution.

According to the DSM's definition of dysthymia, it is a serious state of chronic depression, which persists for at least 2 years; it is less acute and severe than major depressive disorder. Dysthymia is thought to be less so than major depression. If you question the diagnosis, you might be diagnosed as even more depressed. But so what? Who is supposed to find out? And what doctor is going to think less of you because of it when they have so many patients who have the same illness. Perhaps the fact that you are concerned about the label is because of your low self esteem. But don't buy into that as a statement on your worth. Many very famous people have suffered from depression for centuries. I hope that you continue to get better.


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