The 12 signs of dysthymia as Will Young opens up about twin’s heartbreaking struggle

DEPRESSION comes in many forms, with people experiencing all sorts of symptoms.

It can be used simply as a term to describe a passing low mood or a diagnosed serious mental health condition.

Will Young has opened up about his brother's struggle with dysthymia – persistent depressive disorder.

His twin, Rupert, tragically took his own life after years battling with his mental health and alcohol.

What is dysthymia?

It is a continuous and long-term form of depression.

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It can see people who have it losing interest in daily activities, feeling hopeless and unproductive.

These feelings can last for years and might mean people just think you are "gloomy".

The American Psychiatric Association defines dysthymia as having a depressed mood most of the time for at least two years.

It also includes people having at least two of the following symptoms in the below list.

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It is a serious disorder and is not "minor" form of depression – it is about as common as major depression, but sometimes harder to diagnose.

Experts think it is more common in women than men and emerges earlier in life.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can come and go over a number of years and won't always be as strong.

But while they can disappear, they won't be gone for usually more than two months at a time.

On top of this, depressive episodes can happen before or during suffering with dysthymia, sometimes dubbed double depression.

Symptoms of persistent depressive disorder can include:

  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Sadness, emptiness or feeling down
  • Hopelessness
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Low self-esteem, self-criticism or feeling incapable
  • Trouble concentrating and trouble making decisions
  • Irritability or excessive anger
  • Decreased activity, effectiveness and productivity
  • Avoidance of social activities
  • Feelings of guilt and worries over the past
  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Sleep problems

In children, symptoms of persistent depressive disorder may include depressed mood and irritability.

What has Will Young said about the condition and his brother?

His brother Rupert took his own life nearly two years ago after a long battle with depression and alcohol addiction.

Now Will, 43, is speaking out for the first time since the death of his twin in a Channel 4 documentary which airs tonight.

On Will Young: Losing My Twin Rupert, he explains: “It’s important to tell my story, to tell Rupert’s story, to tell my family’s story and to tell the story of 20 years living with my twin, who was an alcoholic.

"Other people will be experiencing this and I don’t want them to feel alone.”

In 2005, Rupert discovered his experience at school – where he and Will were allegedly abused – had sparked mental health struggles.

There, he was diagnosed with a form of chronic depression called dysthymia, which causes low mood.

Getting to the root of his problems spurred him to help others — so in 2008 he set up a mental health charity, Mood Foundation, which went on to raise thousands of pounds.

In July 2020, Rupert was admitted to hospital after threatening to jump off Westminster Bridge.

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Three days later he managed to discharge himself before taking his own life at the same location.

Will has also been open about his own mental health struggles, admitting he has spent £500,000 on therapy to tackle his own addictions.

Will Young: Losing My Twin Rupert is on Channel 4 tonight at 10.05pm.

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