Dysthymic disorder is a chronic depressive illness that affects approximately one to five percent of seniors. Often undetected and untreated, dysthymia is associated with significant psychological distress, medical burden, and functional impairment. Dysthymic disorder in the older population can be challenging to diagnose because of comorbid medical conditions and life losses. Dysthymic seniors often present differently than younger patients. The general practitioner plays a crucial role in identifying and providing interventions for older dysthymic patients. Careful evaluation, psychoeducation, and therapeutic interventions are essential to alleviate further suffering and to improve quality of life and function for these patients.
Key words: dysthymic disorder, depression, psychological symptoms, medical comorbidities.
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