Dysthymia, also commonly known as dysthymic disorder, is a depressive mood disturbance that can occur in adults. To receive a diagnosis of dysthymia, an individual must have been experiencing low mood or other depression symptoms for a minimum of two years. Unlike major depression, dysthymia may not present as sadness all the time. It tends to involve an ongoing disturbance of mood that presents as persistent sadness or lethargy. The general population of the United States has a fairly large occurrence of the disorder, with about seven percent of adults in the population meeting the diagnostic criteria. The exact cause of dysthymia isn't currently known, though researchers believe there is a genetic component. This means if individuals have family members with major depression or dysthymia, they're more likely to develop the condition themselves. The condition can then be aggravated by the presence of different social stresses like dissatisfaction in work, relationships, social life, or hobbies.
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