Depression vs Dysthymia

Most everyone experiences periods of depression. Scientific research shows us that after enjoying any kind of pleasure, we immediately seek some kind of depression afterwards. There are some kinds of depression that last longer than others and can be problematic to mental health and well being.

Depression is the leading global mental health issue and is a cause for many other illnesses. Depression is often connected to suicide and suicide attempts. In addition, depression has an effect on how one can handle life’s responsibilities.


Have you ever experienced a few days of the blues? Maybe a few weeks or months? Rather than have chronic depression, you might be suffering from dysthymia. Considered to be a lower level experience of depression, dysthymia is ongoing, lasting for years.

The symptoms of dysthymia are comparative to that of other kinds of depression. However, there is one key difference. Even in diagnoses of “major” depression, there are only episodes of depression. In between depressive episodes, one feels relatively normal. Dysthymia is the pervasive feeling of depression without any break or remission happening every day for as long as two years.

Symptoms of Dysthymia:

  • Hopelessness
  • Fatigue
  • Distress
  • Poor Concentration
  • Irregular Sleeping and Eating patterns


Major depression is, as described above, episodic. The episodes of major depression are the defining difference between depression and dysthymia. However, major depression can stretch beyond episodic and occur in a more ongoing manner. Major depression without remission is essentially the same as dysthymia.

Symptoms of Depression:

  • Persisting feelings of sadness, numbness, melancholy or emptiness
  • Loss of motivation for physical activity
  • Change in appetite, usually a loss in appetite
  • Poor concentration
  • Feelings of guilt for being depressed
  • Sometimes may include suicidal thought or action

What Makes Them Similar?

Both depression and dysthymia have similar symptoms and characteristics. Each is treatable with medication and therapeutic methods.


Harmony Place provides luxury residential inpatient treatment to men and women who are willing to do the work to recover. The work isn’t always easy, but at Harmony Place, the work never needs to be done alone. Our professionally trained staff helps clients though numerous areas of their addictions and co-occurring mental health problems. For more information, call 1-855-627-1417.