Difference Between MDD and Dysthymic Disorder (With Table)

Feeling low on your down days is normal. But if you struggle with unhappiness, lack of energy, hopelessness, and other negative feelings, it is not at all normal. Depending on how long you are experiencing these feelings, you may have MDD or dysthymic disorder. MDD or Major depressive disorder and dysthymic disorder carry a vital social and human burden.

MDD vs Dysthymic Disorder

The main difference between MDD and dysthymic disorder is that MDD or Major depressive disorder is a common mental illness that negatively affects the way you feel, act, and think. MDD may lead to severe physical and emotional issues. On the other hand, dysthymic disorder refers to a pre-stage of depression that can last for years but is less severe than MDD.

MDD or Major depressive disorder is a significant mental health condition that can affect your physical and mental health. It is also known as clinical depression and can impact behavior and mood as well as several physical functions, like sleep and appetite. In MDD a person feels extreme sadness for a long period.

Dysthymic disorder is a continuous form of unhappiness where a person feels hopeless, loses interest in daily lifestyle, lacks productivity, and energy, and has a lower level of self-esteem. This is also known as persistent depressive disorder. The dysthymic disorder generally lasts for more than two years and its intensity changes over time. Dysthymic disorder is not as severe as MDD or Major depressive disorder.

Comparison Table Between MDD and Dysthymic Disorder

Parameters of Comparison MDDDysthymic Disorder
Definition MDD or major depressive disorder refers to a mental illness that negatively affects the way an individual feels, acts and thinks and leads to physical and emotional problems.     Dysthymic disorder refers to a milder form of depression, less severe than major depressive disorder, and can affect family life, physical health, social life, relationships, and daily activities.
Symptoms The major symptoms of MDD are having less pleasure or interest in most of the activities, depressed mood, fatigue, feeling guilty or worthless, unintentionally gaining or losing weight, insomnia, and so on.      The major symptoms of dysthymic disorder are hopelessness, trouble in making decisions and concentrating, excessive anger or irritability, feelings of worries and guilt over the past, lack of energy or tiredness, emptiness, sadness, self-criticism, low self-esteem, and so on.
Causes Having a stressful life, dementia, anxiety, chronic medical issues, experiencing abuse, and sometimes it may be genetic.      Severe medical conditions like cancer, diabetes, chronic stress or trauma, a family or person history of having the dysthymic disorder.
Diagnosis Doctors recognize MDD if a person has at least 5 of its symptoms.      Doctors recognize Dysthymic disorder if a person has at least two of its symptoms.
Treatment Behavioral activation, CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, medications like SNRIs, SSRIs, and other medications like mirtazapine, bupropion.     CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy, medications like SNRIs, and SSRIs.

What is MDD?

MDD or major depressive disorder is a severe mood disorder where an individual can experience a low mood for two weeks or more and lose interest in daily activities. It is also known as clinical depression. It negatively affects the way an individual feel, acts, and thinks and leads to physical and emotional problems. 

The major symptoms of MDD are having less pleasure or interest in most of the activities, depressed mood, fatigue, feeling guilty or worthless, unintentionally gaining or losing weight, insomnia, and so on. MDD can cause by having a stressful life, dementia, anxiety, chronic medical issues, experiencing abuse, and sometimes it may be genetic. 

To diagnose MDD doctors use its symptoms. Doctors recognize MDD if a person has at least 5 of its symptoms. One of which must be loss of pleasure or interest in life, or feeling depressed too often. These symptoms need to adversely affect the person’s personal life, social life, and job adversely. A person needs to have at least two of these symptoms for at least two weeks.

For mild MDD doctors generally recommend monitoring symptoms and psychotherapy. But for severe MDD doctors may recommend medications. Psychotherapy-based treatments like Behavioral activation, CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and medications like SNRIs, SSRIs, and other medications like mirtazapine, bupropion are used in the treatment of MDD.

What is Dysthymic Disorder?

Dysthymic disorder refers to a milder form of depression, less severe than major depressive disorder, and can affect family life, physical health, social life, relationships, and daily activities. Dysthymic disorder can be caused by Severe medical conditions like cancer, diabetes, chronic stress or trauma, a family or personal history of having the dysthymic disorder. 

The major symptoms of dysthymic disorder are hopelessness, trouble in making decisions and concentrating, excessive anger or irritability, feelings of worries and guilt over the past, lack of energy or tiredness, emptiness, sadness, self-criticism, low self-esteem, and so on.

Doctors use the symptoms of the dysthymic disorder to diagnose it. A person needs to have at least two of its symptoms, which include irritability or depression lasting for at least two years, to receive the diagnosis. These symptoms need to affect personal life, social life, job, and other vital areas of a person severely. 

Treatment for dysthymic disorder is very similar to the treatment of MDD. Doctors generally use two methods to treat this disorder- psychotherapy methods like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and medications like SNRIs and SSRIs. SSRI is more preferable to doctors and therapists as it has fewer side effects compared to SNRIs. However, doctors generally discuss the doses and choices of medications with their patients to ensure the best medications for them.

Main Difference Between MDD and Dysthymic Disorder 

  1. MDD or major depressive disorder refers to a mental illness that negatively affects the way an individual feels, acts, and thinks and leads to physical and emotional problems. On the other hand, dysthymic disorder refers to a milder form of depression, less severe than major depressive disorder, and can affect family life, physical health, social life, relationships, and daily activities. 
  2. The major symptoms of MDD are having less pleasure or interest in most of the activities, depressed mood, fatigue, feeling guilty or worthless, unintentionally gaining or losing weight, insomnia, and so on. The major symptoms of dysthymic disorder are hopelessness, trouble in making decisions and concentrating, excessive anger or irritability, feelings of worries and guilt over the past, lack of energy or tiredness, emptiness, sadness, self-criticism, low self-esteem, and so on.
  3. MDD can be caused by having a stressful life, dementia, anxiety, chronic medical issues, experiencing abuse, and sometimes it may be genetic. Severe medical conditions like cancer, diabetes, chronic stress or trauma, a family or person history of having dysthymic disorder can cause the dysthymic disorder.
  4. Doctors recognize MDD if a person has at least 5 of its symptoms. Doctors recognize Dysthymic disorder if a person has at least two of its symptoms.
  5. Psychotherapy-based treatments like Behavioral activation, CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and medications like SNRIs, SSRIs, and other medications like mirtazapine, bupropion are used in the treatment of MDD. Doctors generally use two methods to treat dysthymic disorder- psychotherapy methods like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and medications like SNRIs and SSRIs.

Conclusion

MDD and dysthymic disorder can both result in feelings of hopelessness and deep sadness. However, these two disorders vary in the consistency and the severity of their symptoms. These two mental conditions are relatively common. But there are some differences between MDD and Dysthymic disorder.

The main difference between MDD and dysthymic disorder is that MDD or Major depressive disorder is a common mental illness that negatively affects the way you feel, act, and think. MDD may lead to severe physical and emotional issues. On the other hand, dysthymic disorder refers to a chronic depression that can last for years but is less severe than MDD.

References

  1. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=what+is+major+depressive+disorder&oq=what+is+Majo#d=gs_qabs&u=%23p%3D3FtbmsfNFLkJ
  2. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_ylo=2017&q=what+is+dysthymic+disorder&hl=en&as_sdt=0,5#d=gs_qabs&u=%23p%3DKUizw5nOz5YJ

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