Dysthymia, now known as persistent depressive disorder (PDD), is a mood disorder consisting of the same cognitive and physical problems as depression, with less severe but longer-lasting symptoms
According to the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published in 1994 (DSM-IV), dysthymia is a serious state of chronic depression, which persists for at least two years (one year for children and adolescents). Dysthymia is less acute and severe than major depressive disorder.
As dysthymia is a chronic disorder, sufferers may experience symptoms for many years before it is diagnosed, if diagnosis occurs at all. As a result, they may believe that depression is a part of their character, so they may not even discuss their symptoms with doctors, family members or friends.