18 Notable Dysthymia Statistics


People who have dysthymia rarely experience happiness in their lives. They are more than just pessimistic. They have a gloomy outlook that seems to bring about self-fulfilling prophecies of sadness. People with this disorder can rarely remember the last time they remember being happy or inspired about something. It is difficult to have fun, worries are frequent, and self-criticism often involves accusing one-self of failure.

Facts About Dysthymic Disorder

1. Women are up to 3x more likely to suffer from dysthymia than men.
2. At any point in time, 3% of the population may be affected by dysthymia.
3. Over the course of a lifetime, up to 6% of the general population may suffer from a bout with this depressive disorder.
4. Those with immediate relatives who have had major depressive disorder have a greater likelihood of developing dysthymia.
5. Of those with confirmed dysthymia, approximately 10% will go on to develop major depression.
6. In the last 12 months, 1.5% of US adults will be diagnosed with dysthymia. That means up to 50% of the US population that has this disorder will not receive a diagnosis.
7. 49.7% of the cases that are diagnosed will be classified as a severe form of dysthymia.
8. The average age of onset for dysthymia: 31 years of age.
9. People in the 45-59 age demographic are the most likely to be diagnosed, with 3.7% of the population being diagnosed. This is more than 2x the rate of the 18-29 age demographic and nearly 3x the 60+ age demographic.
10. 65%. That’s the percentage of people who have dysthymic disorder that are receiving treatment for it in the last 12 months.
11. The percentage of people who are considered to be receiving minimally adequate treatment for this chronic disorder: 43%.
12. If recurrent, but brief episodes of depression are also included in the dysthymic disorder rates, then the prevalence would be about 5%.
13. About 40% of adults with dysthymic disorder also meet criteria for major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder in a given year.
14. Dysthymic disorder happens in up 50% of people who have sleep abnormalities that comprise reduced rapid eye movement.
15. Up to 33% of patients who are either being treated for mental health or are living in a mental health setting may have dysthymia.
16. 1 in 2 people with dysthymia also have an anxiety disorder that may or may not be diagnosed.
17. Up to half of people with dysthymia will also have substance abuse issues that may need to be addressed.
18. Up to 40% of those with early onset dysthymia may also have a personality disorder affecting them on a daily basis.

Dysthymia is a milder form of depression that continues on for a prolonged period of time. A person must have two years of a continuously depressed mood, in fact, to be diagnosed with a dysthmic disorder. Children may have this condition diagnosed in 12 months. Most people who finally do seek out treatment have often suffered from this condition for several years.

If you or someone you know can’t remember the last time fun was actually had doing something, then the facts about dysthymia may just help to spur a decision to find help.

Why Is Recognizing Dysthymia So Important?

The diagnosis criteria for dysthymia involve chronic low-level depression over the course of 2 years. This means that many doctors may choose to avoid treating the depression until it qualifies as an “official” condition. Therapies may be recommended, but medication may not be. Because depression is the greatest risk factor for suicidal thoughts, any low-level chronic depression needs to be closely observed so that people who may have this condition can be tracked and treated.

The stigma of depression and its related consequences often causes people to hide the fact that they have it. They may even choose not to seek treatment for it because they don’t want to be associated with that stigma. The fact remains, however, that a dysthymic disorder brings with it a greater chance of future health concerns. Even if suicide is not on the table, there are risks for other mental health issues developing, including a bout of major depression.

Dysthymia is a condition that must be taken seriously. The statistics prove that this is so. Use them today to discuss with family, friends, or even your doctor any suspicions you may have. Depression in any form must be taken seriously.