• Mild depression can be devastating and dangerous. Clinically referred to as dysthymia, mild depression is less severe than major depression, but can last years longer. Symptoms may not immediately disable the depressed individual, but the extended duration of the illness makes it potentially more dangerous than other forms of depression. Treatment is emphasized to minimize complications, including the onset of major depression and risk of suicide.


    The National Institute of Mental Health describes dysthymia, or dysthymic disorder, as mild form of depression that lasts at least two years and may impair function.


    According to New York-Presbyterian Hospital, mild depression symptoms may include impaired concentration, sleep disturbance, weight change, chronic sadness and suicide attempts.

    High Risk

    The Mayo Clinic reports individuals are at higher risk of developing mild depression if they experience prolonged illness or stress. Family history is also considered a risk factor. According to the clinic, women are more likely to experience mild depression than men.


    Johns Hopkins Medical Center warns mild depression can progress to major depression and suicidal behavior if left untreated.


    Antidepressant medication and psychotherapy are typical treatments for mild depression, but according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, use of medication in conjunction with therapy is most effective.


    The National Institute of Mental Health: Depression

    NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital: Dysthymia

    Mayo Clinic: Dysthymia Risk Factors

    More Information:

    For information on living with mild depression, see the Mayo Clinic: Dysthymia Coping and Support

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