Persistent depression is a continuous, chronic manifestation of depression that may be less severe than major depression but generally lasts for years or may seem to never end. As a result, many individuals struggling with persistent depression may dismiss their struggles as part of their personality or disposition, but there are always healthy options for coping with depression.
An Overview of Persistent Depression
Persistent depression is a form of depression that’s primarily characterized by the longevity of symptoms. While the general symptoms of persistent depression don’t differ from other forms of depression, the symptoms may endure for so long that individuals often begin regarding persistent depression as the baseline for their mood. For this reason, many cases of persistent depression remain untreated because individuals don’t realize they’re dealing with depression or the symptoms don’t seem extreme enough to require treatment.
Just because the symptoms of persistent depression may last for much longer than other forms of depression doesn’t mean treatment options aren’t available. If you or someone you care about has experienced mood changes that last several weeks or months, it’s natural to want to reach out for help. Unfortunately, individuals struggling with persistent depression that lasts years may be past the point of reaching out for help on their own, so identifying the telltale traits becomes all the more important for those around them.
Symptoms of Persistent Depression
The symptoms of persistent depression overlap with many of the symptoms characterizing other forms of depression, including:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- A lack of joy or interest in life
- Low energy levels
- Changes in appetite
- Difficulty concentrating
- Irregular sleep patterns
If you or someone you care about experiences two or more of these symptoms on most days for two years or more, persistent depression could be the cause.
How Persistent Depression Differs
Persistent depression is one form of depression. Other common forms include:
The symptoms of persistent depression generally don’t differ from other forms of depression, but they vary in longevity and intensity. With other forms of depression, symptoms may suddenly and drastically change or come in waves lasting weeks or months. Major depression may last weeks or months, with symptoms escalating to the point of interfering with day-to-day life. Bipolar states often change suddenly, lasting several weeks or months. Seasonal depression is patterned around the changing of the seasons, and symptoms generally peak in the middle of the summer or winter.
In cases of persistent depression, however, symptoms often manifest on most days for years on end with little to no fluctuation. While not always the case, these symptoms may be less intense than other forms of depression, like major depression and bipolar states. As a result, individuals struggling with persistent depression can often function on a day-to-day basis, but they still experience a lack of joy and feel low most of the time. Assuming that’s simply the way they are, individuals struggling with persistent depression frequently disregard depression treatment options.
Have you been feeling low for two years or longer? At PCH, we want to help you find joy again. Get in Touch
How to Cope With Persistent Depression
Because symptoms are often less intense and longer lasting, many individuals find ways to cope with persistent depression independently. They interpret persistent depression as their baseline mood and come to manage day-to-day living in that way. Of course, it’s natural to feel low or disheartened from time to time, but it’s also natural to feel sparks of joy, and the best way to treat persistent depression is by focusing on finding joy in life again.
In our experience, some of the best ways to kindle a zest for life include:
- Art therapy
While you can explore all the above activities on your own, there are also clinical and group-based options for healing persistent depression, such as:
- Group therapy
- Professional therapy
- Medication management
- Lifestyle improvement
While many come to cope with persistent depression on their own, that isn’t always the right path for everyone, and if you feel like you need help, it’s healthy to reach out to someone who cares and can help.
How Can PCH Help?
If you or someone you care about has been feeling a lack of joy in life on most days for two or more years, you have other options than living with it. PCH is here to help you understand those options and find the best path forward. When you’re ready to talk with someone who cares, the caring team at PCH is here to listen.