Genesis Counseling Center
Depression in Adolescents and Children:
Dysthymic Disorder

Dysthymic Disorder in adolescents and children is a chronic type of depression.  While symptoms may be low grade, they affect personality and development in very significant ways.  The dysthymic teen has felt bad for so long it now seems normal.  By definition, dysthymia is a chronic mood disorder with a duration of at least 1 year in adolescents and children. It is manifested as depressed mood for most of the day, occurring more days than not.  Although dysthymia is traditionally considered less severe than major depression, the consequences of dysthymia are increasingly recognized as grave and include severe functional impairment, increased morbidity from physical disease, and increased risk of suicide.  Psychotherapy and medication management are both effective treatment modalities for dysthymia and combination treatment is common.  The effectiveness of several types of therapy, including psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, and interpersonal therapy, has been demonstrated in controlled studies to be effective in the treatment of depression and dysthymia.