The term “depressive episode” describes bouts of depression that last for a specific time. However, there are different forms of clinical depression—some of which can continue for years on end. Understanding the difference between two common types, major depressive disorder (MDD) and dysthymia, may help you understand the condition better.
What is Major Depressive Disorder?
Also referred to as major depressive disorder (MDD), clinical depression is a common but serious mood disorder. A depressive episode can cause significant impairment in daily life. They can shift the way you act, think, and feel, leading to physical and emotional troubles that impact how you function at home or work.
How long a depressive episode lasts relies heavily on individual factors, such as lifestyle or whether or not you seek treatment. On average, an episode of MDD can last between 4 and 8 months. With treatment, this window can shrink to 3 to 6 months.
What is Dysthymia?
Commonly referred to as persistent depressive disorder (PDD), dysthymia is a chronic form of depression. Typically, the effects of PDD are less severe than MDD, but they last for much longer. Dysthymia is a continuous mood disorder which can occur over two years or more.
Due to the prolonged nature of PDD, it can significantly affect your lifestyle, relationships, and physical health. Though, with treatment, individuals with dysthymia can live full, happy lives.