What is PDD?
Persistent depressive disorder (PDD), also known as dysthymia, is a chronic depressive mood disorder involving a depressed spectrum characterized by a depressed mood present most of the time during at least two years. While the condition is reported to affect up to 6% of Canadians over the age of 18, not much is known about the disorder and it often goes undetected.
PDD is a disorder (sometimes hereditary) presenting symptoms that are similar to those of major depressive disorder and that manifest with various levels of severity (mild, moderate and severe). Most people suffering from PDD have experienced at least one major depressive episode in their lifetime. When compared with major depression, PDD symptoms are fewer and less severe, but last for a longer period of time (sometimes from 20 to 30 years).
While people suffering from PDD are generally higher-functioning than people with major depression, interpersonal and social relationships can be challenging. A loss of pleasure or interest in activities they previously enjoyed can cause PDD sufferers to withdraw from their social circles.
People with PDD usually function adequately, but not optimally. Concentration and decision making can be difficult, and patients may exhibit low energy and an anxious, irritable mood. Persistent feelings of sadness, guilt, desperation and worthlessness can lead sufferers to believe features of the disease are personality traits, which prevents them from feeling relaxed and happy.