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Chronic Depression: Is it Curable?

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Do you know at least 6% of the people in the world suffer from Chronic depression? People suffering from this chronic illness often go with lifelong depression unless they seek help. But, what does this Chronic Depression mean?

What is Chronic Depression?

Chronic Depression is also termed as Dysthymia depressive disorder. This form of depression usually is said to last for at least two years. There are different names for chronic depression such as dysthymia and persistent depressive disorder (PDD). When compared to major depression, chronic depression has fewer symptoms. Dysthymia is specifically characterised by longer periods of depression, mostly two years or longer.

It is often characterized with longstanding symptoms of depression where the sufferer is depressed for more days or say for a time duration of two years or even longer. People suffering from dysthymia can also suffer from major depression, also known as double depression.  

On some days the individuals may feel comparatively fine or even have the moments of happiness. But the good mood sometimes lasts for no longer than a few weeks to some months. Experts say Chronic depression as a paradoxical state because it appears to be mild day by day but gets brutal in a long way. How do you know you are dealing with chronic depression? Here’s a quick guide to the symptoms.

Symptoms of Chronic Depression

As chronic depression is a major depressive disorder, negative and depressed moods are common along with anxiety, restlessness, and irritability. Other signs of chronic depression symptoms include

  • Being underweight or overweight
  • Loss of Interest in activities usually you enjoy little time
  • A family history of Chronic depression
  • Substance abuse issues
  • Increase in the negative reactions to criticism
  • Lowered speech
  • Minimally visible emotion

What Causes Chronic Depression?

It’s not easy to ascertain the exact dysthymia causes. Genes are one of the factors that play a big role in contributing to dysthymia depression. Many believe that abnormal functioning of brain cells or nerve pathways can pose a possible risk. Other factors can be traumatic life incidents, other chronic illnesses, medications, and real-life problems such as relationship or job problems.

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How to Diagnose Chronic Depression?

You should visit a mental health specialist to get a diagnosis for chronic depression. Mostly, the diagnosis is done on the basis of the symptoms. Patients with major depression are supposed to have more severe symptoms lasting for a shorter period of time in comparison to patients suffering from dysthymia.

Your mental health specialist may consider the possibility of the dysthymia arising from a physical condition such as hypothyroidism. If the depressive symptoms and period last for more than two weeks, then your mental health specialist may get a medical evaluation done. This is where the mental health history of you and your family will also be looked into.

Physical tests such as blood, X-ray, or other lab tests are generally not required for dysthymic depression.

Is Depression Curable?

Chronic Depression largely goes undiagnosed and untreated. The problem with it is that most of them mistake the symptoms with their personality. Perhaps, they sometimes assume they are moody or self-conscious. After battling for many years, people get to see the visibility of depression as a normal functioning. If they seek a treatment, then it is usually for other problems such as physical issues or relationship problems.

Some of the most common treatments for chronic depression are psychotherapy, medications such as antidepressants, or a mix of these two techniques.

Chronic Depression – Does Psychotherapy work?

Many kinds of Psychotherapies can be considered along with being patient and setting to improve daily functioning.

For example, talk therapy can help a person to develop the right coping skills to deal with daily functions and transform negative thoughts into positive ones. Cognitive therapy, solution-focused therapy, interpersonal therapy, family therapy, and group therapy works well for Chronic Depression.

What Role Do Medications Play?

Some of the medications such as antidepressants as well help in reducing the symptoms of Chronic depression.

There are different types of antidepressants that can be used to treat dysthymia. Based on your physical and mental health, medical history, your mental health professional will suggest the right antidepressant with the least side effects.

Antidepressants generally take some weeks to start showing results. In the case of chronic depression, you must take the antidepressants for about six to nine months. Moreover, if you want to stop using the medications, then you should let your mental health specialist know. It may take some weeks to discontinue an antidepressant.

Some antidepressants can have really bad side effects so it’s best to work closely with your mental health specialist to zero in on the ideal one for you. Psychotherapy can also help in acclimatising a patient to medication as well as provide understanding about the chronic illness to the parents of the patients.

Although chronic depression can be distressing in all the areas of a person’s life, still many of them believe they may get rid of the symptoms by themselves. Because of this reason, people diagnosed with chronic depression don’t recognize their disorder is treatable or avoid seeking a treatment because of the stigma.

You might be reading this article for yourself or your adored one. So, delaying a second too can make a big difference towards negativity. To make it positive and lead a quality life, reach to Cadabam’s @+91 96111 94949.

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Is chronic depression incurable?

Chronic depression is not necessarily incurable. While it can be a persistent and challenging condition, various lesser-discussed therapeutic approaches, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, ketamine therapy, and lifestyle modifications, have shown promise in treating chronic depression. Personalized treatment plans and ongoing support can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals with this condition. It's crucial to consult with a mental health professional to explore these alternative treatments and develop a comprehensive approach tailored to one's unique needs.

What is the last stage of chronic depression?

The concept of "stages" in chronic depression isn't universally recognized in the same way as in some other medical conditions. Depression, especially when chronic, is a complex and varied condition that doesn't conform to neat stages. However, it's important to note that individuals with chronic depression can experience a range of symptoms and may require ongoing, personalized treatment and support to manage their condition effectively. The focus should be on addressing individual needs rather than categorizing it into stages.

Is major depression a permanent condition?

Major depression is not inherently a permanent condition. While it can be long-lasting and recurrent, it is treatable. Various treatments, including psychotherapy, medication, lifestyle changes, and emerging therapies, have shown efficacy in managing and alleviating major depression. It's essential for individuals to seek professional help, as tailored treatment plans can significantly improve their quality of life and well-being. The prognosis varies, and some individuals may experience lasting relief while others may require ongoing management, but permanent major depression is not the only outcome.

Is chronic depression a mental disability? 

Chronic depression, often referred to as a mental health disorder rather than a disability, can sometimes be considered a disability if it significantly impairs an individual's ability to perform daily activities and work. While chronic depression can significantly impair daily functioning, classification as a disability depends on the severity and persistence of symptoms, as determined by medical and legal criteria.

Can I get benefits for depression?

In India, disability benefits for depression are available under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, which defines disability as a substantial and long-term impairment. To qualify, obtain a medical certificate from a recognized hospital confirming depression's substantial and long-term impact. Apply at the district social welfare office with the certificate, Aadhaar card, income certificate, and bank statement. Eligibility will be assessed, and if approved, you'll receive monthly pension and additional benefits like medical care and travel concessions.

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