Dr. Gautham's

Neuro Centre

(Established in 1988)

A Neuro-Behavioral Medicine Clinic

Dr. Gautham's Neuro Centre
4/68 P C Hostel Road
Chennai, Tamilnadu 600031

ph: +91 98410 10197
alt: +91 44 4285 9822








Chronic Depression

Below is a question with Dr. Gautham's reply to it. Make your question as detailed as possible to enable an appropriate suggestion / direction that is specific to you. Include details of problem / symptoms, duration, details of associated persons / situations, aggravating factors if any, and relevant personal details


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1-    This is the most important question and it refers to my father. He is 67 years about 1.83 meters and thin with fatty liver but the exams are very good in normal levels for the liver and he is not taking medicines right now. He is a depressed person for long time in his life. he is 67 years old in good health but he has been very depressed lately. He does not tell me anything to me but my sister and his wife tell me that he is in very bad mood. When he fell so bad he takes a crossword and spent hours on it or watching sports. He is very quiet during the dinners or lunches and when he speaks is about business. He began to drink again 2 years ago. He drinks beer and wine with his friends one or two times a week and he gets drunk one time a week. When he gets drunk he tells my stepmother that he wants to die and tells her she feels bad and make big shows to her or to my younger brothers (16 and 25). I remember when I was young he used to do the same with me. When he was drunk to tell us that he is going to die and that nobody loves him but the next day he is like nothing. I believe he used to do cocaine in his younger years with alcohol. He used to be like that for years and he stopped around 55 years and now he began to drink 2 years ago (65). I believe he feels not depressed while drinking and he is a totally different person when he is drinking with his friends. Even when he is not drinking he is happy and making jokes with his friends but with his family is different. I believe he is depressed all the time and alcohol helps to reduce the depression but after that is worse. He does not listen to anybody and he thinks. Psychiatrists are gays and he does let anybody help him. He used to take antidepressants but now he is not taking anything and it is not a good idea to mix alcohol and antidepressants and I believe he prefers to drink. I have read that there are ways that the lack of vitamins in the body can create depression. I am telling this because he is very thin and he eats well but I believe he is not eating the right vitamins and this has been creating the depression for years. A normal lunch for him is salmon with vegetables and for dinner can have the same. if it is not salmon is chicken but never red meat or very low carbohydrates. Sometimes he eats some bread or drink orange juice but he never eats fruits, eggs, cereals, beans, rice, friends etc.. I believe his levels of vitamins B are very low and this is helping his depression. Can you help me know if I give him Vitamin B this can help him on his mood?. If yes how much will be ok. There is B6, B12 etc..

2-    A psychiatrist told me I am dystimic and I do not speak too much. I might be able to have short conversations but no more. Do you think my father is dystimic too and he has passed to me and what can I take like vitamins etc. In order to be better. I do not like to take strong drugs like prozac etc.. I am 38 years good health . 1.80 meters with about 4 kg over weight.



Dr. Gautham's Answer:

Yes, it appears that your father is suffers from dysthymia. Symptoms of dythymia include: Feeling sad or down, Hopelessness, Lack of energy, Fatigue, Low self-esteem, Trouble concentrating, Trouble making decisions, Self-criticism, Excessive anger, Avoiding social activities, Feelings of guilt, Poor appetite, Decreased productivity,  & Sleep problems.

Dysthymia symptoms typically come and go over a period of years, and their intensity can change over time but in general, the person finds it hard to be upbeat even on happy occasions, and is characterized as being overly critical, constantly complaining and incapable of having fun, in short having a "gloomy personality". It appears that your father's low self-esteem, and suppressed anger surfaces when he is intoxicated, and his self criticism is projected on to the target of his anger viz. your mother and yourself. 

Having biological relatives with dythymia is a high risk factor for developing dysthymia, and it appears that you may have inherited the disorder. 

Dysthymia in not a disorder that you can treat on your own. Anti-depressant  medications are more effective at treating dysthymia than any vitamins. However, since your father refuses to see a psychiatrist who can prescribe the medication you may try some across-the-counter formulations such as St. John's Wort, Omega3 Fatty Acids or S-Adenosyl Methionine (SAMe).

 Psychotherapy can help you learn about your condition and your mood, feelings, thoughts and behavior. Using the insights and knowledge you gain in psychotherapy, you can learn healthy coping and stress management skills . You may also benefit from Yoga or Meditation.