DYSTHYMIC DISORDER & BRIEF THERAPY
Mild, chronic depression has probably existed as long as the human condition, although it has been referred to by various different names. The DSM-III replaced the term neurotic depression with dysthymic disorder--which literally means ill-humored-and it was added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 1980
Dysthymic disorder, also called dysthymia, is a type of depression involving long-term chronic symptoms that do not disable an individual, but keep them from functional at full steam or from feeling good.
Despite the long-term nature of this type of depression, psychotherapy is effective in reducing the symptoms of depression, and assisting the person in managing his/her life better.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Characterized by a chronic course (i.e., seldom without symptoms), with lowered mood tone and arrange of other symptoms that may include feelings of inadequacy, loss of self-esteem, or self-deprecation; feelings of hopelessness or despair; feelings of guilt, brooding about past events, or self-pity; low energy and chronic tiredness; being less active or talkative than usual; poor concentration and indecisiveness; and inability to enjoy pleasurable activities.
IDENTIFYING DYSTHYMIC DISORDER
Negative thoughts and thinking are characteristic of depression. Pessimism, poor self-esteem, excessive guilt, and self-criticism are all common.
You might lack motivation, becoming more apathetic. You might feel "slowed down" and tired all the time. Sometimes irritability is a problem, and more difficulty controlling your temper.
Some people do not feel comfortable with other people, so social withdrawal is common.
Because of the chronic sadness, excessive crying is common.
Needless to say, someone who is this depressed does not do very much, so work productivity and household responsibilities suffer.
Now imagine these symptoms lasting for months. Imagine feeling this way almost all of the time. This may be dysthymic disorder, if several of these symptoms are present most of the time, for the past two years.
TREATMENT FOR DYSTHYMIC DISORDER
Psychotherapy is the treatment for choice for this psychological problem.
The patient should describe problems briefly but specifically over the phone to any prospective therapist to get a sense of whether he or she will suit the patient's needs.
Cognitive Psychotherapy is based on the recognition that when people are depressed they think differently.
Cognitive therapy can help the depressed person recognize which life problems are critical, and which are minor.
Helps them to learn how to accept the life problems that cannot be changed.
Helps a person to examine the distorted assumptions that go with depression, and that maintain the person thinking and acting in ways that keep them depressed.
WHAT SORT OF DISORDERS ARE EFFECTIVELY TREATED WITH BRIEF THERAPY?
Brief therapys attention to teaching a person how to cope, using cognitive and behavioral skills, can usually alleviate depression in about twelve sessions.
Brief therapy, the most common subset of psychotherapy, is used routinely to help people with mental health disorders.
The often rapid results of brief therapy has contributed to its popularity with consumers who, understandably, hope to spend as little time and money as possible during treatment. Better still, they like the results.
Other characteristics of brief therapy:
An empathetic, supportive intervention directed toward specific goals
A focus on solving current problems, not endlessly exploring ones childhood.
An understanding that brief therapy does not equal shallow therapy but is meant to be practical.
Teaches the client how to cope skillfully with problems of life that all people face.