What Is Persistent Depressive Disorder?

What is Persistent Depressive Disorder (PPD)? When does this happen in your life? What does it feel like? What are some causes? When does it show up? How does it affect us? What are the results of this? Lets YAC about it!
persistent depressive disorder
Defined by the Mayo Clinic:
"Persistent depressive disorder, also called dysthymia (dis-THIE-me-uh), is a continuous long-term (chronic) form of depression. You may lose interest in normal daily activities, feel hopeless, lack productivity, and have low self-esteem and an overall feeling of inadequacy. These feelings last for years and may significantly interfere with your relationships, school, work and daily activities."

So.. What Does This Mean?
From incessant research and really trying to discern all of the different depressions, we tend to think of Persistent Depressive Disorder as a never-ending depression. Symptoms may change, moods may be milder at times, you may even experience moments of joy and sometimes more manageable symptoms. However, it seems like generally, these feelings don't disappear; at least not longer than a couple months.

What Causes Persistent Depressive Disorder?
Once again, the lack of research, unfortunately, leaves us relatively stumped on the causes of PDD. Some research points to brain chemistry and our neurotransmitters being a large factor. It has been discovered that the function and reaction of the neurotransmitters in people with PDD are affecting how they interact with the mood stabilization in the brain. There could also be physical or biological differences in people's brains who live with PDD. Depression tends to be more common if you have family members who also experience symptoms, current research is looking into genes that could be causing depression. Major life events and trauma could also be linked to the development of PDD.

What Are The Symptoms?
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Sadness, emptiness or feeling down
  • Hopelessness
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Low self-esteem, self-criticism or feeling incapable
  • Trouble concentrating and trouble making decisions
  • Irritability or excessive anger
  • Decreased activity, effectiveness and productivity
  • Avoidance of social activities
  • Feelings of guilt and worries over the past
  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Sleep problems
How Is It Treated?
Therapy and Medication seem to be the most common and effective treatments for PDD. From Psychotherapy to help change the way the brain functions to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) helping to replace the negative thoughts people have found success. The most common antidepressant treatments are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI), Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCA), Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRI). The important thing to note about medication for treatment is finding which one works best for you. Try not to get discouraged if the first treatment has limited success, consult with your medical health professional when adjusting medications.

Let's YAC About It!
It's time to break down the barriers and end the stigma surrounding mental health. If you live with mental illness or just want to chat, our comments and inboxes are always open. We strongly believe in the value of sharing our experiences + stories in hopes even one person knows they're not alone. We'll be YACing about how Persistent Depressive Disorder impacts us and times when we have experienced some or all of the symptoms above. This blog is an introduction to a series and our last installment will introduce all sorts of resources and ways to find the help you need. Thank you again for everyone who got to this point- and again, don't be afraid to YAC about it!

Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals and are not able to provide licensed medical advice. This is a platform to relay information and share about mental illness. 


Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia) - Symptoms and causes. (2019). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 11 February 2019, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/persistent-depressive-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20350929

Margarita Tartakovsky, M. (2016). A Current Look at Chronic Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved 11 February 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/a-current-look-at-chronic-depression/

Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia) | Psychology Today. (2019). Psychology Today. Retrieved 11 February 2019, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/conditions/persistent-depressive-disorder-dysthymia

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