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Do you struggle with motivating yourself? Are you finding it hard to get excited about anything, including things you used to love? Do you feel like you are forcing yourself to do what you used to enjoy? How about at work, are you finding it hard to concentrate? Are you managing but you just feel like most days you just can’t get going?
Your struggles may be symptoms of a condition referred to as dysthymia. People with dysthymia have many of the same symptoms of depression. However, dysthymia symptoms are not as severe as depression symptoms. Yet, dysthymia symptoms can linger for years.
The exact cause of dysthymia is unknown and may be the result of several factors. How your nerve cell pathways connect within the regions of your brain that regulates mood may be the cause of your symptoms. Major life events can also be the source dysthymia. Other illnesses, medications, relationship dynamics, or work problems may also be influencing your dysthymia symptoms as well.
How do you know if you are suffering with dysthymia? Do you see yourself in the following descriptions?
• You’re sad almost every day
• You’ve lost enjoyment in things you once enjoyed
• You’re weight has gone up or down by more than 5%
• You have trouble sleeping or sleep all the time
• Your friends have said you are restless or rundown
• You’re tired and have no energy almost every day
• You feel worthless or hopeless daily
• You frequently have problems concentrating or making decisions
• You can’t stop thinking about negative events like death or suicide
If this list generally describes you, talk with a medical professional. Your doctor can determine if your symptoms are the result of another medical issue such as hypothyroidism or are dysthymia. Don’t feel like you are the only person with this struggle. Dysthymia is common in the U.S. The National Institute of Mental Health, approximates 35 million adults are diagnosed with dysthymia.
Dysthymia is a struggle; but it is a struggle that is treatable. Your first step is seeking help. Once diagnosed your health care provider will help you build a treatment plan to reduce your symptoms. This treatment plan may be a three-part plan including a mild antidepressant, counseling, and a review of your life style.
A counselor can help you develop coping skills for dealing with the challenges life may throw your way. A counselor also can help you understand and how to challenge negative beliefs you have created about yourself. This part of a treatment plan is called “Talk Therapy.” Prayer is another documented element of successful therapy.
The third part of an effective treatment plan, after getting an accurate diagnosis, is looking at your lifestyle. You are in the best position to answer these questions. Are you eating a well-balanced diet? Donuts for breakfast, an energy drink and chips for lunch and a frozen dinner for supper is not a balanced diet. Do you get regular exercise? Brushing your teeth is good for you, but it is not an exercise program. Do you smoke? Ok, we all know smoking is not good for our health. Do you have a strong social support system; a good relationship with your family and close friends? Dysthymia causes many people to withdraw from social functions. You need a strong support system to help you move through life. Finding a support group of people who are working through the same issues is a way to build a support network. Don’t overlook the resources your church provides. A supportive prayer partner can help build your support network.
Positive life style habits are a major factor in improving mood and the feeling of well-being. In addition to following your doctor’s advice, and seeing a counselor, eating well, exercising, and doing things with family and friends you can control or eliminate your symptoms.
I waited patiently for ADONAI, till he turned toward me and heard my cry. He brought me up from the roaring pit, up from the muddy ooze, and set my feet on a rock, making my footing firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Psalm 40:1-3
Call us with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions; our phone number is 434-808-2637.