Normal and Abnormal Mood States


Dysthymic disorder is a long-lasting type of depression not symptomatically severe enough to warrant a diagnosis of major depression. People with dysthymia may have complaints lasting 6 months or longer (typically many years) of, for example, low mood, irritability, anxiety and sleep difficulties. The symptoms by definition never meet or exceed the severity threshold for a diagnosis of major depression, but dysthymia nevertheless results in real suffering and impairs functioning in various ways. A depiction of symptoms over time may be as follows:

The graphical depictions above are examples only: individual episodes of depressive, manic or mixed states show no uniform set of symptoms or course over time. This is true not only from one individual to the next, but also true for recurrent episodes in the same individual.