Prenatal or Maternal dysthymia and major depression have been compared by our group for their effects on fetal development. Dysthymia is a milder, but long-lasting form of depression. It’s also called a persistent depressive disorder. People with this condition may also have bouts of major depression at times. Depression is a mood disorder that involves your body, mood, and thoughts.
Causes of Maternal Dysthymia
- Biological differences. People with persistent depressive disorder may have physical changes in their brains. Even though the specific causes of these changes are still unclear, they may eventually help pinpoint them.
- Brain chemistry. Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemicals that likely play a role in depression. Dysthymia and its treatment may be impacted by changes in the function and effect of these neurotransmitters and their interactions with neurocircuits involved in mood stability.
- Inherited traits. In people with blood relatives who also suffer from maternal dysthymia, the condition is more common. Researchers are trying to find genes that may be involved in causing depression.
- Life events. As with major depression, traumatic events such as the loss of a loved one, financial problems, or a high level of stress can trigger maternal dysthymia in some women.
Warning Symptoms of Maternal Dysthymia?
- Less time smiling
- Less time touching their infants
- More time moving their infants’ limbs
- Less time imitating their infants
- More time showing distress behaviors
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Sadness, emptiness, or feeling down
- Tiredness and lack of energy
- Low self-esteem, self-criticism, or feeling incapable
- Trouble concentrating and trouble making decisions
- Irritability or excessive anger
When to Seek Help?
Seek medical help if you are experiencing any symptoms of persistent depressive disorder. Talk to your primary care doctor about your symptoms or seek help directly from a mental health professional. Consider connecting with someone who can help guide you to treatment, such as a friend or loved one, a teacher, a faith leader, or someone else you trust. Seek help if you have persistent irritability and self-isolation behavior.
Managing Maternal Dysthymia
To everyone fighting, in this condition know that your feelings are valid. Connect to a professional or trusted person to talk to because conversations matter the most. Control stress to increase your resilience and boost your self-esteem. Get treatment at the earliest sign of a problem to help prevent symptoms from worsening. Consider getting long-term maintenance treatment to help prevent a relapse of symptoms.
Therapy for Maternal Dysthymia
Cognitive-behavioral therapy can be effective for persistent dysthymia along with medications. You and your therapist can discuss which type of therapy is right for you, your goals for therapy, and other issues, such as the length of treatment. Regain a sense of satisfaction and control in your life and help ease depression symptoms, such as hopelessness and anger.