Is Dysthymia better in the morning or worse?

By David Joel Miller

Which depression is worse in the morning? – Morning Question #14

Having more depressive symptoms in the morning is a characteristic of “Atypical features” of a mood disorder. Atypical does not mean unusual it means “not melancholy.”

Atypical features include the hibernating-like-a-bear symptoms, overeating, sleeping too much and being tired and grouchy in the morning. With atypical features, the person may be able to feel better temporarily if something they really like happens, but the happiness does not last long. They may also feel better in the evening but by morning the depression comes back.

Atypical features can occur during episodes of Dysthymia, Bipolar one or two Disorders and Major Depressive Disorder. In practice, the only time I remember seeing this on a file is as part of the diagnosis of a Major Depressive Disorder but having atypical features increases the risk that this will eventually turn into a Bipolar disorder.

If your mood is customarily worse at a particular time of day, make sure you are eating and sleeping well, that there are not environmental problems like relationship issues that are causing this and then seriously consider consulting with a medical doctor or psychiatrist. If the doctor rules out any medical problems then some counseling should help.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog, there is also a Facebook authors page, in its infancy, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at Thanks to all who read this blog.

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2 thoughts on “Is Dysthymia better in the morning or worse?

  1. Pingback: What are Morning Questions? | counselorssoapbox

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