The exact cause of dysthymia isn't known. Dysthymia may have causes similar to major depression, including:

  • Biochemical. People with dysthymia may have physical changes in their brains. The significance of these changes is still uncertain, but they may eventually help pinpoint causes.
  • Genes. Dysthymia appears to be more common in people whose biological (blood) relatives also have the condition.
  • Environment. As with depression, environment may contribute to dysthymia. Environmental causes are situations in your life that are difficult to cope with, such as the loss of a loved one, financial problems or a high level of stress.
Dec. 20, 2012