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Low-grade depression is also known as persistent depressive disorder (PDD) or dysthymia. It is a form of chronic depression characterized by long-lasting feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest or pleasure in doing your daily activities. Unlike major depressive disorder, low-grade depression presents with milder symptoms. However, it can persist over an extended period. Symptoms might not be as severe as major depression. Low-grade depression can still significantly impact your quality of life, relationships and overall well-being. 

What are the signs of low-grade depression?

Low-grade depression can be described as a constant mild despair or unhappiness. The symptoms of low-grade depression can vary from person to person. Symptoms can include the following:

  • Having persistent sadness — A constant feeling of sadness, emptiness or hopelessness can linger for an extended period. This feeling can happen without an apparent reason.
  • Loss of interest — You may lose interest in activities, hobbies or social interactions that used to bring you joy and fulfillment. You may find it difficult to do activities that you usually find enjoyable. 
  • Changes in appetite — Low-grade depression can cause changes in your appetite and eating habits. You may experience weight loss or weight gain.
  • Changes in sleep patterns — You may find yourself experiencing insomnia or sleeping too much. This can cause you to experience fatigue and low energy. Low energy makes completing your daily tasks or maintaining your routine challenging.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt — You may be struggling with feelings of worthlessness, self-criticism or excessive guilt. These feelings may happen even over minor things. 
  • Difficulty concentrating — Your concentration and focus may not be as sharp. This can make it challenging to complete tasks or do activities that need extended attention. 
  • Feeling socially withdrawn — You may find yourself withdrawing from social interactions. This can be because you struggle to connect with others or maintain relationships.

What to do if you’ve been diagnosed with low-grade depression

If you’ve been diagnosed with low-grade depression, there are several ways to help you manage your condition:

  • Professional help — If you’ve been diagnosed with low-grade depression or suspect you might be experiencing symptoms, it’s essential to seek help from a mental health professional. A licensed therapist, counselor or psychiatrist can provide you with a proper diagnosis, assess your symptoms and recommend treatment options.
  • Therapy and counseling — Psychotherapy can be an effective treatment for low-grade depression. It can help you identify negative thought patterns, develop coping strategies and work through any underlying issues. 
  • Antidepressants — In some cases, a healthcare provider may prescribe antidepressant medications to help manage the symptoms of low-grade depression. 
  • Mindfulness and relaxation techniques — Techniques like mindfulness meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. These techniques can be woven into daily routines and can help boost your emotional well-being. 
  • Regular exercise — Regular physical activity has been shown to boost mental health. Exercise releases endorphins, which help to boost your mood naturally. 
  • Healthy lifestyle choices — It’s important to eat a balanced diet and get adequate sleep. It’s also good to avoid excessive alcohol consumption and recreational drug use. These lifestyle choices can improve your overall well-being and boost your mental health.
  • Social support — It can be incredibly beneficial to surround yourself with supportive friends, family or support groups. Sharing your feelings and experiences with others can help you grow a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of isolation. 
  • Realistic goals — Setting realistic and achievable goals can help give you a sense of accomplishment and boost your self-esteem. You can break down tasks and goals into smaller, more manageable steps. 
  • Mindful self-compassion — It’s imperative to practice self-compassion by treating yourself with kindness and understanding. Be patient with yourself. Acknowledge your efforts and progress, no matter how small they may seem. 
  • Progress monitoring — It can be helpful to keep a journal or track your moods and activities to monitor your progress. This can help you recognize positive changes and identify triggers for low moods.
  • No isolation — Low-grade depression may make you feel like you should avoid social interactions. It’s important to resist isolation. Engage in social interactions, even if they are small gatherings or online. Connecting with others can provide you with emotional support and the strength to fight back feelings of loneliness.
  • Creative outlets — Doing creative activities like art, music, writing or other hobbies can be therapeutic. Creative expression can help you channel your emotions. It can also give you a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. 

Low-grade depression can be challenging. However, it is a manageable condition with the right support and coping skills. Approach treatment patiently and persistently, as progress may take time. With the right resources and support, you can effectively manage your low-grade depression. By managing your depression, you can regain your sense of hope, purpose and well-being.

Active Path Mental Health can help you reclaim your life from low-grade depression

Active Path Mental Health specializes in providing compassionate support and guidance to those who are struggling with low-grade depression. We can help empower you to navigate your unique path toward healing and recovery. Our dedicated team of professionals is committed to providing you with the best care on your journey of self-discovery, resilience and renewed hope.

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

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