Low-Grade Depression

Understanding Low-Grade Depression: A Comprehensive Guide

Low-Grade Depression

You can compare moods from different people with colors that keep on varying their brightness. In this case, the depression can symbolically be presented by the dark shade of a given color.

Depression, however, is a situation where you feel sad, worthless, lose interest in activities and find life to be meaningless. All these are signs, indicating that you are depressed and need some assistance.

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Symptoms of low-grade depression- also referred to as Dysthymia- can be mild to some extent. But persistent symptoms of depression may strain your happiness and affect how you perceive everything in your life.

If you are diagnosed with low-grade depression you will lead a normal life but without much pleasure. 

About 6% of the United States population had previously experienced cases of low-grade depression/ dysthymia. This is according to a study by Harvard Health.

The study further reveals that one in every three patients under psychotherapy could be suffering from low-grade depression. Such statistics show that low-grade depression is one of the common depressions experienced today. 

In this guide, you are going to learn more about low-grade depression and its suggested remedies:

1.What Does Dysthymia/ Low-Grade Depression Feel Like?

Some people may not realize that they have low-grade depression. This is because symptoms such as chronic sadness and low mood have been existing with them for too long. As a result, these signs turn out to seem normal to them over that prolonged time.

As mentioned above, approximately 6% of people in the US experienced episodes of low-grade depression at one time in their lives. More than half of the sufferers eventually went ahead to develop an episode of serious depression. 

Patients treated for major episodes of depression are likely to experience cases of low-grade depression but with milder symptoms. Some of these symptoms may persist for a very long period.

1. Low-Grade Depression: Symptoms

Just like any other form of depression, your low-grade depression can lead to hopelessness, sadness, and loss of interest in what you loved doing the most.

Such drastic changes in feelings can have a negative impact on your mood and physical functioning. They may also affect your appetite and quality of sleep.

Those suffering from low-grade depression display symptoms that are similar to major episodes of depression. However, their symptoms are usually milder but chronic since they exist longer.

Here are common symptoms of low-grade depression:

  • Unexplained sleep problems
  • Prolonged feelings of hopelessness and sadness
  • Low energy
  • Lack of morale
  • Difficulty in paying attention to detail
  • Sudden change in appetite (either eating too little or excess)
  • Low self-esteem
  • Unable to make even simple decisions
  • Decreased productivity
  • Lack of interest in your daily activities
  • Negative attitude towards almost everything 
  • Avoidance of most social activities
  • Constant thoughts of suicide or death

If you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, you should go for a diagnosis as soon as possible.

Names of Low- Grade Depression

Other Names of Low- Grade Depression

2. Low-Grade Depression: Diagnosis

Your health professional expert will make a diagnosis based on the symptoms you display. Most of these symptoms will appear as the aforementioned ones. Bear in mind that these symptoms exist for a long period so you may tend to overlook them. 

Diagnosis in adults should take place only when they have experienced low-grade depression symptoms for at least a period of two years. But children can be diagnosed after displaying their low-grade depression symptoms for at least one year.

Make sure you take these two points seriously before you decide to go for a mental health evaluation. 

You may consider the following key points highlighted below to make a proper and accurate diagnosis. 

Check out these important points:

  • Your doctor should carry out a physical examination first to rule out the possibility of any health conditions other than low-grade depression.
  • In the next step, the doctor should ask you questions about your prevailing mental and emotional state to establish if you have low-grade depression.
  • Finally, you need to be positive and honest with your answers to help your physician to determine exactly what you’re suffering from. The answers you provide will enable your doctor to know whether your condition is low-grade depression, or another form of depression, or some form of mental illness.

3. Low-Grade Depression: How It is Different from Sadness?

You may confuse your sadness to be low-grade depression at one point in your life, but depression is a little more than sadness. It does not mean that every time you get sad it’s a sign of low depression.

The extent to which you feel down and low is one of the factors that can differentiate sadness and low-grade depression. Other factors may include persistent negative feelings, bodily impact, and your ability to carry on with your daily life.

Unlike all forms of depression, sadness is just a normal emotional aspect of your wellbeing.

Anyone can experience it at any time in their lives, especially when they feel pain or loss of something precious. In simple terms, sadness is a state that is triggered by something bad. 

On the other hand, low-grade depression doesn’t need any form of a trigger, it just happens. Patients suffering from low-grade depression can feel hopeless and sad about anything around them.

While these individuals may have several reasons to stay happy and free like normal people, low-grade depression can cause them to suffer even more. 

Their state of depression can rob them of their ability to appreciate and cherish happy moments and satisfaction.

2. Low-Grade Depression Versus Other Forms of Depression

There are three major categories of depression.

These include:

  • Mild depression
  • Moderate depression
  • Severe depression 

Each one of these subcategories shows varying symptoms on the affected individuals. 

For instance, low-grade depression has symptoms that make it fall under a mild type of depression. In simple terms, low-grade depression has a low intensity in terms of severity towards the affected patients.

Apart from the three subcategories, depression can be classified into several subtypes. Different depression subtypes can exhibit some variations when it comes to the intensity of symptoms.

However, some subtypes can show similar symptoms and this can be a little confusing for most patients. 

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Here is a comprehensive analysis of different subtypes of depression and how to tell them apart:

1. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

There is a big difference between major depressive disorder and low-grade depression. The main difference comes in terms of duration. With low-grade depression, symptoms are likely to last longer- at least two years.

Major depressive disorder, however, may display its symptoms for a period of about two weeks. 

To add to that, low-grade depression and MDD differ due to the intensity and number of symptoms each one of them exhibits.

In some instances, low-grade depression sufferers can experience major depression episodes once in the course of their low-grade depression. When this happens, experts say it’s double depression.

2. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

SAD is considered the most common subtype of depression. The condition is associated with extreme cold weather conditions in winter. As you may know, during the winter months, days become shorter while nights get longer. 

SAD, on the other hand, takes a specific time, thus making it more different from low-grade depression and other conditions related to depression.

Since low-grade depression does not follow a certain period, SAD is likely to give rise to temporary cases of low-grade depression.

3. Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar depression is sometimes referred to as a manic depression. This condition refers to the type of mood episodes that drastically change from extreme energy to up the mood to a sudden low depressive period. 

If you have bipolar disorder, you may experience symptoms or show signs that resemble major depression or low-grade depression. Such cases happen more often during the time you are in a low mood. 

4. Depressive Psychosis

Psychosis is a term that describes a medical condition where the patient loses contact with reality. Consequently, the patient resorts to acting abnormally.

Most of the time, psychosis involves cases of hallucination or sensing things and situations that are not there in reality and being delusional (false beliefs). 

On the contrary, low-grade depression doesn’t involve any of the signs displayed by psychosis features. Those with low-grade depression may feel depressed but perform usual functions without losing contact with reality.

5. Perinatal Depression

Another name for perinatal depression is major depression with peripartum onset. This condition affects some mothers during their pregnancy period or after delivery. Changes in the expectant mothers’ hormonal levels are the main cause of perinatal depression.

Usually, these hormonal imbalances trigger changes in a woman’s brain, leading to mood swings.

Perinatal depression and low-grade depression can show common symptoms. The only difference between these health conditions is that perinatal depression emerges in pregnant women.

Low- Grade Depression

Conditions Linked With Low-Grade Depression

6. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) comprises both physical and psychological symptoms such as mood swings that most women display a few days prior to their periods every month. The premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a serious case of PMS. 

Females with this kind of disorder can experience symptoms of depression. As a result, these symptoms can negatively affect their daily lives and daily functioning. The sadness and less energy of low-grade depression can resemble premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

However, low-grade depression does not happen at any specific period of the month, making it a little more challenging to link it with the premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

7. Atypical Depression

Atypical depression refers to the type of symptoms that disappear once you are exposed to joyous events.

Symptoms associated with atypical depression are similar to those of major depression. This is the reason your doctor may diagnose it just in the same way as major depression.

Both atypical depression and low-grade depression are examples of co-occurring conditions. This means that they can occur side by side. As a matter of fact, atypical depression’s symptoms can resemble major depression and low-grade depression. 

Here is a table comparing low-grade depression with other types of depressions discussed above:

Signs Low-Grade Depression MDD SAD Bipolar Disorder Depressive Psychosis Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder Perinatal Depression Atypical Depression
Onset 2 years At least 2 weeks Winter Season At least 2 weeks At least 2 weeks 1 week to the menstrual cycle and a few days to periods During pregnancy or after childbirth Varies considerably since it subsides when a positive event happens
Intensity Mild Severe Mild to moderate Moderate to severe Severe Moderate to severe Moderate to severe Moderate to severe
Suicidal thoughts Not always present Present Not always present present present Not always present Not present Not always present
Low  Mood Persistent Extreme Present most of the time Extreme and persistent Extreme and persistent Extreme Extreme and persistent Not persistent

3. What Factors Contribute to Low-Grade Depression?

Causative factors or the etiology of health-related conditions play a critical role in your well-being. These factors lay a foundation for a better structural treatment plan. In this regard, low-grade depression comes as a result of multiple factors. 

This condition cannot be linked to one major cause but several factors. As such, it is a good idea to have first-hand information about all factors that can contribute to low-grade depression.

Below is a detailed explanation of the factors that cause low-grade depression. Once you have these factors at your fingertips, you will know how to overcome your case of depressive mood. 

1. Genetic Predisposition

The main function of genetics, especially in low-grade depression instances is still susceptible. There is no clear explanation to support the work of genetics when it comes to controlling low-grade depression. 

Regardless of not having a clear explanation about the role of genetic predisposition, you should not neglect that depression runs in families. The condition is usually passed from one generation to another. 

Apart from depression, genetics is one of the key factors in different types of human diseases. This comes about when variations in DNA and its function alongside the environmental factors contribute to different diseases. 

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2. Biological Factors

In some cases, biological factors can contribute to cases of low-grade depression. Depression is a health condition associated with different chemical changes taking place in your body.

In most instances, your neurotransmitter functioning may get disturbed, leading to depression. Neurotransmitters are a type of chemical that play the role in carrying the signals from a section of your brain to another. 

The most common neurotransmitters that are likely to affect your moods include noradrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin.

So, when discussing the causes of depression you should include the aforementioned neurotransmitters. Any disturbances to the levels of neurotransmitters can alter your mood and even cause depression.

3. Chronic Medical Illnesses

If you have physical illnesses you can experience changes in your moods. These sudden changes can make you feel low especially when you feel some pain or unwellness.

Low-grade depression can result from many long-term and chronic medical illnesses. A perfect example is cancer which normally leads to depressive illnesses. 

Sometimes you may not be aware that you are depressed, especially if you are suffering from serious medical illnesses. Regardless, symptoms of low depression may gradually develop as a result of stress caused by prolonged chronic diseases. [1*]

4. Psychosocial Factors

Psychosocial and environmental factors are likely to be prominent in psychological or mental health problems. In this sense, depression can be associated with psychosocial factors such as emotional or physical abuse, childhood traumas, loss of your loved ones. 

Other psychosocial stressors include:

  • Current and past stressors – They can cause an individual to develop long-term depression in their future lives. For example, being brought up in an uncaring or abusive family can increase the risk of you being depressed in your adult life.
  • Events or incidents that negatively impact your self-esteem – A good example is a break-up of a relationship you had emotionally invested in. 
  • Feeling ashamed due to failure – This comes about when you constantly think that you haven’t lived up to your expectations or others’ expectations.

5. Other Psychological Illnesses

You may also suffer from two psychological conditions occurring at the same time. Alternatively, you may experience double depression which can be low-grade depression combined with major depression. 

A number of psychological conditions may increase the risk of getting low-grade depression.

These conditions can be personality disorder (up to 40%), anxiety disorder (up to 50%), somatoform disorder (up to 45%), major depression (up to 75%), and substance abuse (up to 50%).

4. Consequences of Low-Grade Depression on Patients

The current long-term signs and symptoms of low-grade depression can possibly alter your daily life in one way or the other. Whichever way this condition may affect you, rest assured that your life will not be the same again. 

Consequently, low-grade depression will have adverse effects on the way you function or execute important decisions in your day-to-day life. Worse still, low-grade depression can make you a pessimist about anything and everything you come across.

Risk Factors for Low- Grade Depression

Risk Factors for Low- Grade Depression Are:

Check  the following possible consequences you are likely to face once you develop low-grade depression:

1. Poor Quality of Life

One of the most common consequences of having low-grade depression is the decreased quality of your life. Keep in mind that satisfaction, self-gratification, and self-esteem depend solely on the quality of your life. 

Therefore, low-grade depression can make you experience low and dull moods from time to time. When this happens so often, it can significantly reduce the quality of your well-being.

Even more, studies have linked low quality of life to anxiety and depressive disorders among different groups of people. 

That being said, low-grade depression can easily impair your social, physical, and even work-life in comparison to non-depressed individuals. The impact of your low-grade depression will depend on the severity of your depressive situation. 

On the other hand, some aspects of low-grade depression may be considered uncertain as well as challenging to measure.

These aspects include:

  • Pain
  • Poor social interaction
  • Family stress
  • Family or general marital breakdown
  • Disruptions in your daily activities
  • Being homeless

2. Abuse of Harmful Substances

Drug abuse is the same as substance abuse and can affect your well-being in the long run. One of the conditions that substance abuse can cause is low-grade depression among people of different ages and backgrounds.

Also, persistent depression can push someone to substance abuse. So, the two cases are highly interlinked.

According to the reports published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, one in every three adults with substance abuse is more likely to suffer from depression [2*] .

Similarly, an individual with any form of depression has a high chance to indulge in drug abuse. The main reason why such patients find themselves abusing drugs is to get some relief from persistent feelings of worthlessness and sadness. 

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3. Difficulties in Relationships and Work

Situations such as problems at the workplace and unstable relationships can also cause low-grade depression. This is attributed to the belief that relationships and depression are inversely related.

In most cases, persistent depression can affect the quality of your relationship with those around you. In other instances, disturbing relationships can push you to depression and even worsen it. 

While in this depressive state, you will find it difficult to pay attention to anything or anyone close to you. You may also be less involved in what is going around you, become easily irritated, or have difficulties having a mutual relationship with your loved ones.

On the other hand, issues related to relationships such as poor communication, high conflicts, difficulty resolving problems, and sudden withdrawal can contribute to depression. 

In this regard, low-grade depression may affect you and change the course of your relationship at home, or at the workplace. Low-grade depression can as well cause low productivity since you cannot concentrate on important assignments.

It can also impact your self-esteem negatively, causing you not to achieve progress in your professional life. 

If left to persist, low depression can become a primary concern in financial matters and family relationships. This happens mainly to those who are responsible for taking care of their families. 

4. Persistent Pain and Medical Illnesses

Low-grade depression or dysthymia can also be termed chronic depression. This is due to its chronic effects on the sufferers.

The name comes about when the condition’s mild symptoms become long-term, leading to chronic pain that may last longer than it is normal. 

As you experience chronic pain for a long time, your body releases stress hormones. Due to stress hormones, you may end up experiencing mood swings, low energy, and declining mental or physical health for quite some time. 

Low-grade depression may as well lead to general medical health conditions such as digestive system problems, fever, and sleep problems. Some patients may complain of inadequate sleep due to the disturbance from low-grade depression. 

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Lack of sleep can lower your productivity at work. Apart from that, persistent pain and persistent physical complaints may contribute to additional irritation which can make it difficult to interact with other people normally.

5. Other Mental Health Issues

When you have low-grade depression, you may develop other mental health issues as well. Your low-grade depression will even worsen the situation since you will have to deal with symptoms of more than one condition simultaneously. 

In such scenarios, you should seek treatment for those conditions, that is low-grade depression and comorbid disorders. Your doctor will most probably perform all necessary assessments for both conditions to come up with a better treatment plan for you.

5. Professional Help for Low-Grade Depression

There is a chance of low-grade depression going untreated among some sufferers. This can happen especially when you find it normal to go about your business while suffering from low-grade depression.

Such cases are common when symptoms are not severe enough to prevent you from doing normal duties.

It doesn’t matter how severe or mild your low-grade depression condition may look provided that you look for professional help at the right time. A mental health doctor can be a better option for you if you suspect that you have low-grade depression.

The doctor will examine you and evaluate the most ideal treatment plan to help you lead a normal life. 

Here is how early professional help from a mental health doctor can help you overcome your low-grade depression:

Low-Grade Depression Treatment: The 3-Step Approach 

The most appropriate treatment plan for low-grade depression varies considerably from one patient to another.  This variation comes as a result of different factors responsible for causing depression. 

Your mental health doctor is likely to take two approaches when it comes to the treatment of low-grade depression. The first approach is through medication and the second approach is through psychotherapies.

Treatment of this condition is also divided into three major phases in order to work on this condition in a better and more structural way. 

Below is the three-step approach you need to know:

1. Acute Phase

The main goal in the acute phase is to make sure that you are relieved of your symptoms. This treatment approach under this phase can take four to eight weeks or even more. However, the duration depends solely on how you respond to front-line treatment or how fast the symptoms go away.

2. Continuation Phase

Here, the patient and doctor work side by side to ensure that the patient shows positive improvement. Continuation levels can last four to five months.

During this period the mental health professional identifies the right procedure and modifications to be used to make the treatment more effective.


How Does Psychotherapy Help You?

3. Maintenance Phase

The goal of the maintenance phase is to ensure that your mood is brought under control following the treatment. Also, this phase helps prevent prolonged cases of low-grade depression from recurring.

In this respect, your health professional will provide essential guidelines that will enable you to avoid the relapse of your condition. 

Low-Grade Depression Treatment Approaches

There are two main treatment approaches designed to handle low-grade depression.

They include:

  • Medications
  • Psychotherapies

Your mental health professional will check for the following factors in order to find a proper treatment approach:

  • The severity of your symptoms
  • Any emotional issues you may have
  • The ability of your health condition to tolerate the medication
  • If you had received treatment prior to the ongoing treatment and the kind of treatment method that was used
  • Your cooperation in addressing the situational and emotional factors that may be affecting your wellbeing
  • Medications Approach

One of the options that you can use to treat low-grade depression is medication. The main idea behind using the medications approach is to lower the intensity and severity of the symptoms.

In this case, certain drugs are administered to patients who are fighting low-grade depression to help them get better and lead happy life.

These drugs are classified as antidepressants and here are their names:

You should take these medications only if your mental health professional prescribes them for you.  The best thing about prescription by highly trained and experienced doctors is that they will explain to you the possible side effects of these medications. 

The main function of antidepressants is to lower suicide risks among the affected people. These drugs improve the mood, thus eliminating sadness and feelings of worthlessness. Regardless of their help, these drugs should be taken in proper doses. 

Patients on antidepressants must also be monitored closely by the mental health doctor for any unusual behavior or worsening depression.

If the problem persists, patients are advised to seek further assistance from their doctors or seek emergency help as soon as possible.

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  • Psychotherapy Approach

Psychotherapy is a term used to describe the type of approach your doctor can use to treat psychological disorders. 

In psychotherapy, a therapist discusses your condition regarding low-grade depression including other related problems. Another name for this approach is psychological counseling or simply talk therapy.

Different types of psychotherapies exist today and they all aim at treating psychological problems.

Their main advantages are as follows:

  • Help you to adjust to difficulties you may face in life
  • Point out the issues that contribute to your low-grade depression 
  • Point out the negative behavior and get rid of them
  • Identify coping strategies that can solve the problem
  • Help you regain satisfaction and a sense of purpose in your life
  • Help ease your depression
  • Sets realistic goals regarding your life

6. Non-Drug Remedy For Low-Grade Depression

You can as well turn to non-drug remedies to help you overcome your low-grade depression. Examples of these remedies include learning lifestyle approaches, behavior modification techniques, and cognitive strategies.

All these approaches along with psychotherapies are considered perfect non-drug solutions to low-grade depression.  

Take a look at the following best psychotherapies and lifestyle approaches you can practice to make your life more fulfilling than before:

Psychotherapies Best for Low-Grade Depression

 Psychotherapies, also known as talk therapy are an approach to help people overcome their emotional difficulties or troubling symptoms to function better and increase well-being. This approach aims at helping you to overcome your emotional difficulties.

Talk therapies will reduce troubling symptoms to enable you to function better. 

Short and long-term psychotherapies also come in handy to effectively control depressive disorders. They help develop your understanding of different situations and reduce maladaptive interpersonal interactions.

Quite a number of psychotherapies are adequate for low-grade depression treatment. Your mental health doctor may combine all these therapies to make the treatment more effective. 

Low-Grade Depression Treatment

How to Treat Low-Grade Depression?

Below are talk therapies best for low-grade depression:

1. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

CBT is simply a structure or time-limited treatment option that does not go deeper into looking at the unconsciousness of a patient. Instead, CBT focuses mainly on the current low-grade depression problems.

Further, CBT recognizes and restructures cognitive processes that may lead to depression. It also notes the relationship existing between mood state, depressive thoughts, and your behavior. 

2. Psychoanalysis

In this sense, psychoanalysis helps you to understand the unconscious factors that can determine your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

This type of psychotherapy is a more effective way to find out the cause of low-grade depression while making you realize that depression can be a defensive mechanism against facing any unwanted feelings instead of confronting them.

 Through psychoanalysis, you can achieve the following:

  • Greater self-awareness of your decisions and actions
  • A broader scope that can enable you to observe or correct the problem you are currently facing

Careful observation and analysis of certain patterns can help you trace the real source of your behavior and feelings to the moment when everything took a new shape.

By doing so, you will be in a better position to find a better perspective regarding your prevailing situation.

3. Interpersonal Therapy (ITP)

ITP is a type of psychotherapy that is both structured and time-limited. Its main goal is to help you focus on your current problems and how they occur.

ITP allows you to work hand-in-hand with your therapist in order to focus on the main issues that need to be resolved.

The primary focus of IPT, however, is how you can cope with the depression symptoms in your daily life. It focuses on your current behavior and line of thoughts while working on them to find a better solution.

Book your consultation with our mental health expert to get the most suitable treatment for your low-grade depression.

Home Remedies and Lifestyle Approaches For Low-Grade Depression

The treatment of low-grade depression cannot be possible unless you find some professional help at the right time. However, you can use lifestyle strategies and home remedies to solve this problem. 

Have a look at some of these strategies highlighted below:

1. Learn more about Low-Grade Depression

Once you have the right information about your condition you will be able to find a better treatment plan. Besides educating yourself about your situation, you can let your family members and those close to you know your condition.

These people will most probably understand and provide the necessary support that you so much need.

2. Focus on your treatment plan

In this case, don’t skip taking your medication or overlook your psychotherapy sessions. If you have to skin any of the two treatment plans, you must consult with your doctor for further guidance.

Also, don’t be discouraged because your improvement may take a little while.

3. Watch out for any warning signs

Make sure to work closely with your therapist to learn what triggers your depression. Besides, make a proper plan about what you should do if the symptoms get worse or rather if they relapse even after treatment.

Involve your family members and friends where possible, to be on the lookout for any warning signs you may display. 

4. Follow a healthy lifestyle

The most appropriate way to adopt a better lifestyle is to take a healthy diet that can boost your immune system and internal system during the treatment of your low-grade depression.

Stay physically fit and active to overcome your symptoms and release negative energy. Most importantly, get enough sleep to help you minimize your depressive symptoms.

5. Avoid substance abuse

Alcohol, drugs, and smoking should be avoided by all means since they contribute to different depression types. Abuse of these substances can only increase depressive symptoms rather than lessening them.

If you are on any form of drug, alcohol, or smoking, ensure that you discuss with your doctor to know how you will deal with your situation.

Low-Grade Depression Treatment

Helping Someone With Low-Grade Depression

6. Go for alternative medicines

In some cases, you may adopt alternative medicines and herbal remedies to take care of your low-grade depression. Just before you choose this option, find out more about their benefits and side effects.

Alternative or herbal medicine may improve mild or moderate depression, but the overall evidence is not conclusive.

7. Prognosis and Relapse of Dysthymia or Low-Grade Depression

Prognosis is a medical term that stands for an educated guess or a prediction about the likely outcome of any form of treatment. Prognosis is also a prediction of a given process that an individual needs to undergo during the treatment of low-grade depression.

It covers the extent of healing you may expect at the start of your treatment process.

Since low-grade depression is considered a long-term health condition, it is wise to have an idea about the prognosis during your treatment. In case of a relapse after the treatment, you should be aware of what to do once the symptoms recur. 

Here is everything you need to know about the prognosis of low-grade depression:

  • Prognosis

Low-grade depression or persistent depressive disorder is a chronic condition that can start at any stage of your life. The condition comes with ups and downs, especially regarding your mood.

With proper treatment, you can significantly reduce the effects and intensity of low-grade depression.

Adequate treatment can substantially improve your well-being. Epidemiologic studies show that 46% to 71% of patients suffering from low-grade depression experience remission at follow-up points during their first 1 to 6 years of treatment. 

Symptoms such as depressive personality disorders and anxiety disorders can be associated with low recovery rates among those with dysthymia. Also, chronic stress may set in when you experience severe symptoms or have a lower likelihood of recovery. 

  • Relapse

It is a long process to recover fully from a low-grade or persistent depressive disorder. In addition, symptoms may occur once more if the treatment was not effective.

Studies reveal that out of 70% of patients that recovered from low-grade depression, 50% of them experienced a relapse.

As a patient, you need to draw the difference between the normal emotional response to stress and relapse.

For that reason, relapse is the term that describes the recurrence of signs of low-grade depression that appear after the previous symptoms have been in remission for a while. 

In most cases, the symptoms you experience during the relapse are different in intensity and can vary in number. In addition to knowing the relapse symptoms, you need to be aware of what triggers them. 

Here are examples of what might trigger relapse:

  • Family challenges and problems such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or loss of property
  • Hormonal shifts and imbalance due to puberty, pregnancy, and menopause
  • Incomplete treatment or failure to stick to the right routine treatment.
  • Unhealthy lifestyles and sleep deprivation
  • Unable to tell what triggers your depressive condition
  • Relapse Management Tips

The most effective way to prevent relapse is to recognize and quickly seek proper treatment. Taking such measures at the right time will certainly make a huge difference in your life. Aside from that, you may start treatment as soon as possible if you believe that you may experience relapse symptoms. 

Reach out to your mental health professional to get a better treatment plan for your condition. The treatment for your relapse is similar to that for low-grade depression although it varies in duration depending on the intensity of your recurring symptoms. 

Use these valuable tips to manage relapse after treatment of your low-grade depression:

  • Reach out to your family or friends to provide necessary care and support
  • Take advantage of home therapies if possible
  • Make sure to maintain a proper sleep routine
  • Keep a journal highlighting track of every activity you engage in to identify any strange pattern in your behavior
  • Stick to a healthy diet as well as physical activities

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Sometimes it is difficult to recognize low-grade depression due to its mild symptoms. Long duration also creates a challenge when it comes to accurate diagnosis of low-grade depression among different patients.

With that said, you should always be alert to any warning signs that come along with depressed moods. Early detection and a proper treatment plan can greatly deal with this condition to prevent major depressive episodes in your life.

Therefore, make sure to seek medical help from a reputable mental health professional as fast as possible. Book your appointment with a licensed mental health expert today!


+2 sources
  1. About Chronic Diseases
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  2. Recognition and treatment of depression in a primary care setting. (1994)
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