The term dysthymia was coined by Kahlbaum, although the current meaning has been used since 1980 and refers to a mild chronic depression, which can be distinguished from major depression. Currently, statistics indicate that twice as many women suffer from it compared to men. Therefore, it is not surprising that professionals have delved into the investigation of the causes of this mental disorder in them. A recent study made to women shows that one of the reasons would be in the construction of the object of love.
The psychiatrist Jose Manuel Garcia Arroyo, responsible for the investigation, explains that “the objective was to find the internal components that sustained the depressive symptoms, and go beyond what is said about these women in specialized publications and magazines.” In the publications, the depressive disorder is often focused on the biochemical aspect, a reason that, on the other hand, satisfies the affected woman more. “It is more reassuring to explain the disease as a biological issue than delve into their personal stories,” defends Garcia Arroyo.
The results of the study reveal that these women maintain a disturbing contact with their partners, and that this would be one of the main reasons for the psychic pain they show. The finding of love is usually initially unknown to both the patient and the professional who assists her. And the reason why it cannot be seen a priori would be due to the creation of a verbal plug: the woman uses expressions and laments about her affectation inherited from others, such as the family doctor. But once this appropriate discourse dissolved, the bio theories would dissolve and an understanding of the patient would begin that would allow clinical improvement.
In the women studied, a dynamic of loss was discovered, as in almost all dysthymic or neurotic depression. However, this loss did not turn out to be a simple lack of love because “if it were simplified to that, it would be resolved with the woman’s divorce and the search for another partner,” says the psychiatrist. Quite the contrary, all the women remained undaunted with whom they chose. The loss in them was internal: a loss of the ideal of love together. “Those affected showed that they had practically gambled their lives on a card, that of love. They were not really interested in anything else. For this reason, when love failed and they lost hope in it, a devastating emptiness was produced that brought them down.” In this sense, the specialist explains that love for them is a grip of their personality, the rest of the elements such as friends, work or hobbies, it does not keep them alive, in any case, it only relieves them temporarily. This structural love is usually made up of fantasies about the couple, they believe in the perfect man as if it were a tale of blue princes, and they do not base love on the real knowledge of the human being that can be their partner. In these fantasies they continually want to be adored, which reveals a certain “inability to love” in these women, explains the psychiatrist.
For Arroyo, this finding is revealing, but he is aware that he is subject to prejudice in two directions. “On the one hand, it is thought that questions of love are nonsense and cannot be depressing. And secondly, in our psychiatric discipline, mourning for loss has always been understood from a physical point of view: a divorce, a death… And in the case of these dysthymic women there is no physical loss, because they are with their husbands, but an internal loss: lack of communication, emptiness, frustration… In these cases of dysthymia we have found that the internal loss is as strong as the external”.
Lastly, the researcher also points out that the majority of these women prefer to settle into depression rather than assume that their mental structure regarding fantasy love is flawed. “Resignifying love for them is very hard because it has been like that for years,” concludes psychiatrist Garcia Arroyo.

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