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What's the difference between major depression and disthymia in bipolar disorder?

static void

static void

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Jun 9, 2018
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What's the difference between major depression and disthymia in bipolar disorder?

I know that the symptoms of chronic depression are the same as major depression, they're just less severe.
But how do professionals judge how severe it is?
How can the patient know if she's experiencing one or the other?
 
Drooo

Drooo

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Jun 8, 2016
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I know that the symptoms of chronic depression are the same as major depression, they're just less severe.
But how do professionals judge how severe it is?
How can the patient know if she's experiencing one or the other?
It's a complicated picture, one that I think is judged not just by the severity but by the pattern as well.
Speaking specifically about the types of depression without getting into cases such as Psychotic Depression:- on the lower end there's mild depression which, in the general population probably accounts for most of the depression cases, but is probably suffered more by those that don't have ongoing problems with their mental health and is more so down to circumstances; eg: home, job, relationship loss.

On the high end is probably Recurrent Depression (Recurrent Depressive Disorder as it is called in the UK), which is basically Major Depression/Clinical Depression (the person is the lowest of the low, actively suicidal, completely shut down to the world etc) but is usually longer lasting and keeps coming back. This is not the same as 'Persistent' depression, or Dysthymia. It's like the big brother version of that.

In between are varying grades dependent largely on how much it effects the persons day-to-day life, the level of distress and the pattern of presentation; eg: lasting a couple of weeks and is mild in nature; or lasting a couple of months and has caused the person to be off work and impacts upon their social life, relationships etc., or lasts many months and has caused the person to stop working, stopped their social life completely etc.

The thing that complicates the picture is that you can have shorter duration/higher severity episodes and those of us that struggle with depression in an ongoing fashion can have episodes of the milder sorts of depression as well as the more severe forms that we are diagnosed with.

I've seen people claim to be severely depressed yet still have active social lives or can still work day-to-day. To me that means it is not 'severe' depression. But people like to ramp things up don't they.

In short, it's bloody complicated!
 
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