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People with dysthymia have a greater-than-average chance of developing major depression. Fluctuating symptoms intensity can trigger a full blown episode of major depression. This situation is sometimes called "double depression"[6] because the intense episode exists with the usual feelings of low mood.

As dysthymia is a chronic disorder, a person may often experience symptoms for many years before it is diagnosed, if diagnosis occurs at all. As a result, they tend to believe that depression is a part of his or her character. This, subsequently, may lead sufferers to not even discuss their symptoms with doctors, family members or friends.

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