Hypothymia: what is this emotional symptom and its characteristics

Feeling sad and mean is normal. There are days when we are in a better mood and others when we are not as much, as you would expect in a person with euthymia.

However, sometimes you can live in a continuous state of hopelessness and hopelessness, not bad enough to consider it a full-fledged state of mind, but which can be a source of discomfort.

This is called hypotymia and is a common symptom of mood disorders., Although he can also show up. Below, we’ll take a closer look at what it is and what differences it has when it comes to dysthymia and depression.

    What is the hypothesis and how does it affect mood?

    The hypothymia is an abnormal decrease in emotional tone. A person presents with this symptom when their emotional response is diminished and inadequate to their actual situation, accompanied by dexterity, expressionless language, and slow movements.

    Additionally, a key aspect of hypothyroidism is that the individual loses interest in what previously produced satisfaction, Such as leisure, family circle and friends or others.

    Hypothymia is not a diagnostic category, but it is a symptom found in many medical illnesses and mental disorders. It is considered a positive symptom, which means that the disorder adds to the person’s life.. It is not a specific symptom and can occur in many mental disorders and illnesses, such as brain tumor or cases related to cranioencephalic damage. It is considered to be one of the main symptoms of depression.

    It differs from euthymic, that is, normal sadness for several reasons. The first is that the person not only feels sad, but is also unable to feel happiness, Even if you have experienced an event which, in principle, should be a source of joy. For example, a person suffers from low blood pressure if, upon hearing that they have good grades, are a parent, or have won the lottery, they show no joy.

    In case of hypotymia a large repertoire of gentle feelings, such as boredom and pessimistic ideas, can be given, Or go to deeper thoughts of vital concern, discomfort and shyness. Catastrophic feelings, hopelessness, and a sense of failure can arise.

    Based on its definition, one would think that hypotymia is related to dysthymia and depression and indeed it is. However, it differs from these two mood disorders for several reasons which we will see below.

    Differences between hypotymia and dysthymia

    There are several differences between hypotymia and dysthymia. To start, hypotymia is a symptom and not a nosological category or disorder, While dysthymia is. Dysthymia is found in mood disorders, characterized by a sad mood, melancholy, resentment, and other symptoms of a bad mood, but the diagnostic criteria for considering the condition are not met. It could be considered a kind of mild depression.

    In order to be able to diagnose dysthymia, the patient’s state of depression must have been maintained for at least two years. This depression, at first, could be considered as hypotymia, as long as this time was not exceeded and the degree of severity was not increased.

    however, another of the main differences between dysthymia and hypotymia is its temporality. Hypothymia, as we have discussed, is a symptom, a depression-related condition that is relatively short-lived. On the other hand, dysthymia has more than one stroke or a prolonged condition over time, referring more to the fact that the person, in general and in various contexts of his life, is under the spirits.

    Difference between depression and hypothymia

    In the same way that hypotymia can be linked to dysthymia, or even confused without taking into account the differences already explained, this symptom can be linked to depression. In fact, as we have said, it is one of the main symptoms of depression.

    One of the differences between depression and hypotymia is its intensity. In depression, as it is a mood disorder, the symptoms of listlessness, depression, loss of interest and coldness are very intense and are prevalent in most of the situations the patient experiences. . In contrast, hypotymia, although present at any time in a patient’s life, its intensity is much lower, more characterized by the absence of happiness than by deep sadness.

    The other difference is the duration. Hypothymia is a relatively temporary thing, with a shorter and more variable duration than depression, ranging from a few days to at most several months. In contrast, depression is usually a long term disorder.

    Although it is necessary to diagnose many of your diagnostic criteria over a period of more than two weeks, it is common for the person to have actually endured depression for longer, at least six months.

    How Hypothymia is Involved

    Although hypotymia is not a disorder or as serious as dysthymia and depression, the person suffering from it must receive the appropriate professional help.

    This is important because, if left untreated, feelings of unhappiness and depression can progress over time to dysthymic disorder or even depression.

    The first thing to do is to consult a specialized psychologist, in order to be able to confirm the diagnosis. Usually hypotymia is usually exogenousThat is, caused by conditioning external to the person, such as a problem with work, a relationship, some kind of worry … It will therefore be possible, with professional help and support from the family and friends, to tackle the source of the anxiety, in addition to providing the patient with tools for resolution.

    As part of therapy it is essential to get the person to continue with their daily activities and that he does not lose social contact, because isolation can worsen his mental situation.

    If possible, the patient is recommended to exercise weekly, as sport is known to help uplift the mood, and since hypotymia is not a seriously sad mood, it can quickly recover. normal levels. However, no matter what your sport, psychotherapy should not be abandoned in order to direct the process of improvement.

    The patient should also be encouraged to perform enjoyable activities, which will help him disconnect from his worries and obligations, as well as put his problems into perspective. These activities can be of any kind, such as reading, playing video games, painting, dancing, or any other hobby that you enjoy, no matter how your surroundings or even yourself perceive it as “productive.” The important thing is that he does things that he loves that make him feel better.

    Throughout psychotherapy, it is essential that follow-up be done to ensure the progression of the hypothymia. This is very important since, as we have already mentioned, if not properly intervened on this symptom can progress to depression or dysthymiaSomething that clearly wants to be avoided in the patient.

    Bibliographical references:

    • American Psychiatric Association (APA). (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
    • Horse (2002). Manual for the cognitive-behavioral treatment of psychological disorders. Flight. 1 and 2. Madrid. 21st century (chapters 1-8, 16-18).

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