Doctors have found a medical name for the ‘meh’ feeling — and it could be a serious mood condition affecting 10 million Americans

  • Persistent depressive disorder is a lesser-known form of mild depression
  • It affects 10 million Americans of all ages, with women being more susceptible
  • Read more: Sleeping less than five hours increases risk of depression

It’s a feeling you can’t put your finger on. You won’t be happy, but you won’t be too sad either – you might even crack a smile.

You’ll feel a little…meh. It’s a term that’s becoming increasingly popular on social media as Gen Z searches for words to describe their indescribable feelings.

For example, on TikTok, videos using the hashtag ‘How to stop feeling meh’ received a combined 13.4 million views.

Whether it’s because the sun sets earlier at night or because a holiday is approaching, most people don’t know what’s behind this drag.

It turns out that doctors finally have a name for this feeling: it’s actually a form of depression that affects millions of Americans.
Persistent depressive disorder (PDD) — or feeling 'meh' — affects about three percent of Americans, or 10 million

Persistent depressive disorder (PDD) — or feeling ‘meh’ — affects about three percent of Americans, or 10 million

According to experts, this condition is called Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD), a form of chronic depression that is usually mild and lasts for at least two years.

In children, the diagnosis is given only if these feelings persist for at least one year.

The condition was previously defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as dysthymia, from the Greek word for ‘low spirits,’ ‘moodiness,’ or ‘dejection.’

PDD is characterized by a constant feeling of sadness – although patients are often able to function and return to normal within a short period of time.

According to the DSM-5, symptoms include poor appetite or overeating, difficulty falling and staying asleep, fatigue, low self-esteem, poor concentration, difficulty making decisions, and feelings of helplessness.

About three percent of Americans — about 10 million — will experience PDD at some point in their lives.

Women are more likely to develop it, as are those with a family history of the condition.

However, doctors are not entirely sure what causes it.

One theory is that it may be because the brain produces low levels of serotonin, which affects mood and works with the sleep chemical melatonin to help regulate when you fall asleep and wake up.

PDD can also be triggered by stressful or traumatic events, such as losing your job or going through a divorce.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, PDD may also be linked to health conditions such as diabetes and cancer due to the psychological effects of living with them.

PDD is less severe than major depressive disorder (MDD), a form of depression that affects eight percent of American adults and 15 percent of teens.

The main difference in conditions is how long the symptoms last.

While symptoms of PDD must persist for two years, MDD can be diagnosed if symptoms persist for at least two months.

Additionally, MDD can be more severe, leading to uselessness, weight loss, restlessness, and frequent thoughts of death.

MDD is also likely to interfere with relationships, school or work performance, and family responsibilities.

PDD can be treated with antidepressants and therapy such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

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