Dysthymia, commonly now known as persistent depressive disorder (PDD) or chronic depression, is a mood disorder consisting of the same cognitive and physical problems as depression, with less severe but longer-lasting symptoms.

The concept was coined by Robert Spitzer as a replacement for the term “depressive personality” in the late 1970s.


The symptoms of dysthymia are actually the same as those of major depression but tend to be fewer in number and not as intense. They include the following:

  • sadness or depressed mood most of the day or almost every day
  • loss of enjoyment in things that were once pleasurable, like enjoying gaming
  • insomnia or excessive sleep almost every day
  • fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
  • difficulties with concentration or making decisions almost every day
  • recurring thoughts of death or suicide



Talking therapies are often used in dysthymia and other mood disorders to help the person develop appropriate coping skills for dealing with everyday life. There are also different antidepressants available to treat dysthymia.

Your GP will assess your physical and mental health, including any other medical condition, to find the most effective support for you.

You can also speak to your GP for more information about
accessing NHS talking treatments.