Can one function productively in their day-to-day life and still experience depression? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition states that there is a type of depression which does not reach the criteria of a depressive disorder however has similar features. What’s interesting in this is that individual’s can retain most of their functioning and are usually very high achieving individual’s, despite having distorted cognitions about their surroundings (Kriger, 2013; APA,2013).


This disorder is termed Dysthymia – in which its states that the individual must exhibit a depressed mood for most of the time which is visible to others for at least 2 years in which two or more of the following symptoms must accompany the feeling state:


  1. Poor appetite or overeating.
  2. Insomnia or hypersomnia.
  3. Low energy or fatigue.
  4. Low self-esteem.
  5. Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions.
  6. Feelings of hopelessness.


It is important to note that in order for a diagnosis of Dysthymia, the individual has never been without the depressed feeling and two or more of the aforementioned symptoms for more than 2 months at a time (APA, 2013).


Individuals who experience dysthymia can function well at work and in their day-to-day life, however their sense of self or general sense of wellbeing might be at jeopardy due to negative ways of perceiving themselves or their surroundings. It is important that one seeks an appropriate support system in order to help them cope with the symptoms of the mental health condition.


Check out Part 2 of this blog to continue reading about the intricacies of Dysthymia and the way forward!




  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.


  • Kriger, S. F. (2013). Toward a Cognitive Conceptualization of Dysthymia: Cognitive Behavioral Identification and Treatment of Patients with Dysthymia. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 27(3), 285–296.


Karl Grech is a counsellor. He offers counselling to both individuals and couples within Willingness. He can be contacted on or call us on 79291817.