The Mood Disorders Research Program at The New York State Psychiatric Institute performs studies of chronic depression and related disorders.

Studies of chronic depression.  In the past decade, it has become clear that many people with depression have symptoms that last for many years.  Dysthymic Disorder (DD) is one form of  chronic depression, now part of a larger DSM-5 category of Persistent Depressive Disorder.  Less severe than Major Depression, DD tends to start in adolescence or earlier, and to last for years, even decades.  Symptoms include low mood (lasting 2 or more years), sadness, listlessness, an inability to enjoy things, low self-esteem, and poor concentration.  Though DD is fairly mild on a day-to-day basis, over a lifetime it is actually a severe disorderóleading to poor work function, relationship problems, and high rates of suicide. 

In recent years, a variety of medication treatments have been shown to be helpful for Dysthymic Disorder.  At the Mood Disorders Research Program, we have studied medications such as Prozac, Zoloft, Wellbutrin XL, Effexor, Lexapro, Cymbalta and Pristiq.  Our studies have shown that for many people, longstanding symptoms of depression can be relieved in as little as four to eight weeks.  Interestingly, not only do sleep and appetite improve, but many people also are able to work more productively and have better relationships.

How common is Dysthymic Disorder? Numerous studies have shown that as many as 3% of the American population has the condition. How often is it adequately treated? Probably less than half the time.


For further information on this topic, see Q&A About Chronic Depression                 



and would like information about participating in our studies, please contact us at: 646-774-8000

Text Box: Affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons and the New York State Psychiatric Institute



The New York State Psychiatric Institute

Columbia University Department of Psychiatry 
Specializing in Treatment and Research

of Chronic Depression

   Mood Disorders Research Program/

      Depression Evaluation Service

   1775 Broadway , Suite #1403   (57th St)

   New York, NY 10019

   Tel. 646-774-8000