Depression is a condition that affects your ability to function by causing feelings of sadness and hopelessness, the medical term for which is Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). People with such depression are not able to function normally in routine life and will need to take medical assistance at some point.
However, there is a milder, and chronic, form of depression that can afflict people who look and behave normally otherwise. The medical term for such depression is Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD).
It is quite possible that you may be suffering from one. Since its symptoms are subtle, it may not prevent you from performing your daily activities. So, you may not even know that you have it. Since people with PDD continue with their normal functions in society, the condition is also called High-Functioning Depression.
What is PDD?
Persistent depressive disorder is a mild form of depression. But it is chronic in nature. If a person has PDD, he would need to feel sad or low throughout the day for two years or more. Of course, one may have a few days during this period when one does not feel gloomy. That does not nullify the diagnosis of PDD.
Signs and Symptoms of PDD
PDD signs can be very deceptive and subtle. Look for the symptoms below:
- Feeling sad all the time: A generally low or gloomy mood throughout most of the day.
- Lack of energy: You may be feeling tired even if you sleep well regularly.
- Trouble sleeping: If you are feeling tired because you have trouble falling asleep, that could also be a hint.
- Not enjoying earlier interests: If you loved playing chess or window shopping and you no longer enjoy them, you could be suffering from PDD. Since PDD symptoms are very subtle, it is difficult to spot them. However, this particular one is easier to verify since it is simpler to compare with the earlier days.
- Loss of appetite: A particularly interesting sign, if one is no more enjoying one’s favourite foods or dishes.
- Gaining or losing weight: This is a physical sign and is easier to notice compared to behavioural ones.
- Low self-esteem: If you did not have this problem earlier but face the same now, pay attention.
Rather than checking for absolute symptoms, look for changes in them. Is your behaviour different from what it was a couple of years ago?
Keep in mind that you may have grown out of some previous interests. For example, you may have enjoyed partying in your college days but with current job pressures, you are no more excited about late-night partying. That does not mean you have PDD.
PDD can affect one at any age. It can also trigger episodes of major depressive disorder, which are more debilitating.
- Get in touch with a qualified psychiatrist if you suspect you have PDD. Don’t think of potential stigma. With proper medication, counselling, behavioural therapy, and lifestyle changes, one can manage PDD, which is better than suffering a lifetime of PDD. Read a detailed article on this website: Is depression treatable?
- If one is feeling low because of genuine causes such as a loss of a job or a loved one, we cannot make a diagnosis of clinical depression. Feeling sad in such times is normal. However, in PDD, the symptoms have to be present for at least two years, which is a long enough time for almost everyone to overcome genuine grief. If you are feeling low for two years, you have PDD.
To Read More
- Cleveland Clinic: Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)
- Mayo Clinic: Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia)
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: Dysthymia
- Healthline: Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)
- WebMD: Mood Disorders
- SAMHSA, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Living Well with Major Depressive Disorder
- Familydoctor.org: Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)
First published on: 26th June 2022
Image credit: master1305 on Freepik
Last Updated on: 1st May 2023