logo
flag   

Keyword Search: in
Dysthymia (Chronic Depression) and Codependency | What Is Codependency
View article disclaimer and terms
Tags: shame and depression

This article has been viewed 3055 times.
Ask us a Question
Name
Email Address
Comments
Code ^

FOLLOW US ON :

Face BookTwitter

Dysthymia or chronic depression is a common symptom of codependency; however, many codependents aren’t aware that they’re depressed. Because the symptoms are mild, most people with chronic depression wait ten years before seeking treatment.Dysthymia doesn’t usually impair daily functioning, but it can make life feel empty and joyless.  Sufferers have a diminished capacity to experience pleasure and may withdraw from stressful or challenging activities. Their emotions are dulled, though they may feel sad or melancholy or be irritable and anger easily. Unlike with major depression, they’re not incapacitated, yet they may have difficulty trying new things, socializing, and advancing in their career.

Some may believe that their lack of drive and negative mood is part of their personality, rather than that they have an illness. Like codependency, dysthymia causes changes in thinking, feelings, behavior, and physical well-being.

Cause of Dysthymia - Persistent depressive disorder affects approximately 5.4 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older. The numbers may be much higher, since it often goes undiagnosed and untreated. Over half of dysthymic patients have a chronic illness or another psychological diagnosis, such as anxiety or drug or alcohol addiction. Dysthymia is more common in women (as is major depression) and after divorce. There may not be an identifiable trigger; however, in cases of onset in childhood or adolescence, research suggests that there is a genetic component.   Although stress can be a factor in depression, some people don’t experience a life event that triggered their depression.

There are individuals with chronic depression who blame their mood on their relationship or work, not realizing that their outer circumstances are only exacerbating an internal problem. For example, they may believe that they will feel fine when they achieve a goal or when a loved one changes or returns their love. They’re unaware that the real cause is that they’re striving to prove themselves to compensate for feeling inadequate, or that they have no life of their own, have sacrificed self-care for someone else, or that they feel unlovable and worthy of love. They don’t realize that their depression and emptiness stem from their childhood and codependency.   Codependents, by nature of their addiction to people, substances, or compulsive processes, lose touch with their innate self. This drains their vitality and over time is a source of depression. Denial, the hallmark of addiction, can also lead to depression.

Codependents deny their feelings and needs. They also deny problems and abuse and try to control things that they can’t, which add to feelings of hopelessness about their life circumstances. Other codependent symptoms, such as shame, intimacy issues, and lack of assertiveness contribute to chronic depression. Internalized shame from abuse or emotional abandonment in childhood causes low self-esteem and can lead to depression. Untreated, codependency worsens over time, and feelings of hopelessness and despair deepen.   Codependency and depression can be caused by growing up in a dysfunctional family that’s marked by abuse, control, conflict, emotional abandonment, divorce, or illness. The Ace Study demonstrated that adverse childhood experiences lead to chronic depression in adulthood. All subjects with a score of five or more were taking anti-depressants fifty years later. Other causes of dysthymia are isolation, stress, and lack of social support. (Research shows that people in abusive relationships aren’t likely to disclose it.)

Treatment

Psychotherapy is the treatment of choice. It is more effective when combined with antidepressant medication. Cognitive therapy has been shown to be effective. Eliminating negative thinking can help prevent recurrence of depressive symptoms. In addition, patients need to develop better coping skills, heal the root cause, and change false shame-based beliefs that lead to feelings of inadequacy and unlovability. Goals should be to increase self-esteem, self-efficacy, self-confidence, assertiveness, and restructuring of dysfunctional thinking and relationship patterns.

Group therapy or support groups, such as Codependents Anonymous or other Twelve-Step Program are effective adjuncts to psychotherapy. Lifestyle changes, such as exercise, maintaining healthy sleep habits, and participating in classes or group activities to overcome isolation, can also have an ameliorative effect.




By Darlene Lancer, MFT
All rights reserved. Any reproducing of this article must have the author name and all the links intact.

Darlene Lancer, MFT

Author:

Biography: Darlene Lancer JD LMFT is a marriage and family therapist. She is a relationship expert and author of "Codependency for Dummies" and "Conquering Codependency and Shame: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You" as well as five ebooks. Ms. Lancer has counseled individuals and couples for 27 years and coaches internationally. She’s a sought after speaker at national conferences in media and to professional groups and institutions. Her articles have been published widely in professional and popular periodicals. You can subscribe to her blogs and get a free copy of “14 Tips for Letting Go.”

ALSO VIEW OUR
Articles
(Total : 18)
  Title
Sort by Title A-Z
Sort by Title Z-A
6 KEYS TO ASSERTIVE COMMUNICATION
AFTER DIVORCE – LETTING GO AND MOVING ON
CAN THERAPY HELP YOU CHANGE?
Codependency Relationship Problems
Codependent Problems in Relationships
COUPLES COUNSELING
DO YOU LOVE A NARCISSIST?
DREAMS: THE DOORWAY TO YOUR SOUL
Dysthymia (Chronic Depression) and Codependency | What Is Codependency?
EMOTIONAL ABUSE: BENEATH YOUR RADAR?
IS YOUR FAMILY DYSFUNCTIONAL?
IS YOUR HEART COMMITTED? IS HIS?
MARIA SHRIVER, HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH
REBUILDING TRUST – PART II
The Truth about Domestic Violence and Abusive Relationships
TO TRUST OR MISTRUST – PART I
YOUR INTIMACY INDEX: HOW TO HAVE MORE INTIMACY
YOUR PRIMARY SPIRITUAL RELATIONSHIP – LOVE FOR YOURSELF


Disclaimer and Terms. This article is the opinion of the author. WorldwideHealth.com makes no claims regarding this information. WorldwideHealth.com recommends that all medical conditions should be treated by a physician competent in treating that particular condition. WorldwideHealth.com takes no responsibility for customers choosing to treat themselves. Your use of this information is at your own risk. Your use of this information is governed by WWH terms and conditions.