Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)

About 1 in 5

adults in the U.S. suffer from PDD.

Persistent depressive disorder (PDD) is characterized by continuous, long-term feelings of sadness and emptiness, accompanied by a loss of interest in daily activities and difficulty accomplishing tasks. Individuals with this disorder may experience low self-esteem, a sense of failure, and hopelessness, lasting for years and impacting relationships, school, work, and daily life.

Given the long-term nature of this condition, coping with depression symptoms can be challenging. That said, a combination of talk therapy and persistent depressive disorder medication has shown to be effective in treating persistent depressive disorder. Read on to discover:

  • What is persistent depressive disorder?
  • Persistent depressive disorder vs major depressive disorder: what’s the difference?
  • Is there medication for persistent depressive disorder?
  • What are the most effective persistent depressive disorder treatments?
woman has hand on face representing Schizoaffective Disorder

What is Persistent Depressive Disorder?

PDD (persistent depressive disorder) is classified as a chronic form of depression, consolidating the previous diagnoses of dysthymia and chronic major depressive disorder.

 Individuals with PDD may encounter profound feelings of sadness and hopelessness, a common experience across various types of depression. However, in PDD, these symptoms can endure for an extended duration.

 Given the persistent nature of these symptoms, PDD has the potential to disrupt academic, professional, and personal life. Nevertheless, a combination of medication and therapy has proven to be effective in managing PDD.

woman has hand on face representing Schizoaffective Disorder
person getting therapy representing treatment for boderline personality disorder

Symptoms of Persistent Depressive Disorder

Persistent depressive disorder is associated with a range of symptoms that may significantly impact emotional well-being and daily functioning. DSM 5 persistent depressive disorder symptoms are outlined in DSM-5-TR (the revised fifth edition of APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

Persistent depressive disorder DSM-5 symptoms include:

Chronic low mood

Individuals with PDD experience a pervasive, long-lasting low mood, which may persist for most of the day and nearly every day.

Loss of interest

A key symptom of PDD is the loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyable. Hobbies, social interactions, and other previously fulfilling activities may become unappealing.

Fatigue and low energy

PDD can lead to persistent fatigue and a lack of energy, making even simple tasks feel overwhelming and challenging.

Changes in appetite or weight

People with PDD may experience significant changes in their appetite, leading to weight loss or weight gain.

Sleep disturbances

Insomnia or excessive sleeping are common sleep disturbances associated with PDD, further inflaming feelings of exhaustion and impacting daily routines.

Feelings of hopelessness

PDD often brings a pervasive sense of hopelessness, making it challenging to see a positive future or believe that things will improve.

Low self-esteem

Individuals with PDD may have a negative view of themselves, feeling unworthy, incompetent, or undeserving.

Difficulty concentrating

PDD can impair cognitive function, leading to difficulties in concentrating, making decisions, and retaining information.

Social withdrawal

People with PDD may withdraw from social interactions, preferring isolation over engaging with others.

Suicidal thoughts

In severe cases, PDD may lead to recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, calling for immediate professional intervention and support.

Treating Persistent Depressive Disorder

Effective persistent depressive disorder treatment involves a comprehensive approach that combines medication, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes. The goal is to alleviate symptoms, improve coping skills, and enhance overall well-being.

 Antidepressant medications like SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) or SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), are often prescribed to help regulate mood and manage symptoms of PDD.

 CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and other forms of talk therapy can be highly beneficial in addressing negative thought patterns, identifying triggers, and developing healthy coping mechanisms.

 Group therapy or support groups can provide a valuable network of individuals going through similar experiences, promoting a sense of belonging and understanding.

 Engaging in regular exercise, maintaining a balanced diet, and incorporating stress-reduction techniques like mindfulness and meditation can complement formal treatment and improve overall well-being.

 Consistent follow-ups with mental health professionals are essential to monitor progress, adjust treatment plans as needed, and ensure ongoing support.

 In cases where an individual experiences suicidal thoughts or self-harming behaviors, safety planning and crisis intervention should be implemented immediately.

 By combining these various approaches, individuals with persistent depressive disorder can gain control over their symptoms, find effective coping mechanisms, and work towards a more fulfilling and balanced life. Having said that, it is always advisable to consult with a qualified mental health professional to determine the most suitable treatment plan tailored to each individual’s unique needs and circumstances.

an image of people learning about mental health disorders from a mental health blog

If you have been feeling any of these symptoms, and you are in need of help, please give our friendly team a call.

an image of people who got help with PMDD treatment


 What are the two types of dysthymia?

The two types of dysthymia are early-onset dysthymia, which starts in childhood or adolescence, and late-onset dysthymia, which begins in adulthood. Both types share the same symptoms but differ in age of onset.

 How long does PDD last?

PDD can last for at least two years, although in many cases the symptoms persist for much longer, and some individuals may experience PDD for decades.

 Can a person with PDD live a normal life?

Yes, with appropriate treatment and support, individuals with PDD can lead fulfilling lives. Proper management through a combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes can significantly improve the long-term outlook for people with PDD.

What does PDD look like?

PDD may present as a continuous low mood, feelings of hopelessness, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, fatigue, low self-esteem, and difficulty concentrating. These symptoms can persist for extended periods, affecting various aspects of a person’s life, including work, relationships, and daily functioning.

an image of people who got help with PMDD treatment

What is the difference between typical depression and PDD?

Depressive disorder refers to a broad category of mood disorders that includes various types of depression, while persistent depressive disorder specifically refers to a chronic form of depression lasting for at least 2 years, combining traits of dysthymia and chronic major depressive disorder.

an image of clients during pdd treatment

Get Treatment for Persistent Depressive Disorder at Connections Mental Health

At Connections Mental Health in Southern California, we are dedicated to providing personalized and compassionate persistent depressive disorder therapy. Our primary focus is on creating a safe and nurturing environment, where individuals seeking stability can find healing and tranquility. With a team of expert staff committed to offering individualized care, we strive to facilitate profound healing while fostering lasting connections.


Our treatments are cutting-edge and evidence-based, grounded in the latest advancements in psychiatric science. Benefit from 24/7 supervision and at least two staff members present at all times to prioritize your safety and well-being.

 Whether you or a loved one is facing episodes of major depressive disorder, we are here to support you in restoring daily functioning and achieving sound mental health. Our compassionate treatment blends science-backed interventions with holistic therapies, empowering you to take the first step towards a brighter future at Connections Mental Health. 

Contact us today at (844) 413-0009 to learn more about our personalized treatment plans and embark on your journey to healing at Connections Mental Health.

an image of clients during pdd treatment

Learn more about the individual mental health disorders we treat by clicking a button below.