Dysphoria is an emotional state that is the opposite of the euphoria we all know. Dysphoria is characterized by negative symptoms, including depression and exaggeration of stimuli or situations that happen to us. In turn, all this negatively affects our daily functioning. What are other symptoms of dysphoria? How to treat it?

What is dysphoria?

A person suffering from dysphoric mood is characterized by deep feelings of anxiety, depression, and sadness. At the same time, she is much more sensitive to any criticism or difficult situation. Patients with dysphoria tend to exaggerate trivial things, become easily upset, and may be short-tempered.

Other symptoms of dysphoria include:

  • negative assessment of the past,
  • reacting with anger and anger,
  • react inadequately to the situation,
  • violence,
  • irritability,
  • feeling angry at yourself,
  • feeling of constant tension,
  • self-criticism,
  • indignation,
  • humiliating yourself,
  • the belief that the situation is hopeless,
  • so-called black and white thinking (all or nothing),
  • feeling of injustice.

It’s also worth mentioning that there are two other interesting types of dysphoria. Gender dysphoria occurs when a person experiences stress caused by feelings of incongruity between the sex they were assigned at birth and their internal gender.

The second type is postcoital dysphoria, which appears immediately after sexual intercourse and is manifested by inexplicable sadness, depression, and even crying. After a few hours, it goes away on its own.

Is dysphoria a disease?

Dysphoria is defined as an abnormal emotional state. It is not classified in any diagnostic classification – neither in ICD-10 nor in DSM-5. It is also not called a mental disorder or disease. However, dysphoria can occur as one of the symptoms of certain mental disorders or physical illnesses, including: depression or anxiety disorders.

Dysphoria – causes

The causes of dysphoria are varied, and it is impossible to determine a clear reason for its occurrence. As already mentioned, dysphoric mood is often observed in certain disorders and physical illnesses.

Dysphoria can occur when:

  • anxiety disorders,
  • schizophrenia,
  • personality disorders (especially in people with borderline personality disorder),
  • ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder),
  • dissociative disorders.

Dysphoria is also typically diagnosed in people suffering from:

  • epilepsy,
  • dementia syndromes, such as Alzheimer’s disease,
  • metabolic disorders,
  • pain syndromes,
  • premenstrual tension.

Dysphoria has also been shown to occur in people who abuse substances. In particular, severe dysphoric symptoms may occur after sudden withdrawal from, for example, cocaine. Additionally, dysphoria can be caused by excessive stress, traumatic experiences, sleep problems, pain, or sexual dysfunction.

Dysphoria – treatment

Dysphoria is diagnosed by specialists, so if you notice any symptoms that may indicate dysphoric mood, you should consult a psychiatrist. Treatment for dysphoria will depend on its cause.

If dysphoria is observed against the background of a mental disorder or physical illness, then treatment will be aimed at treating the underlying disease (if dysphoria is one of the symptoms of depression, the psychiatrist may prescribe the use of antidepressants or psychotherapy).

However, if the causes of dysphoria are, for example, excessive stress or traumatic experiences from the past, then psychotherapy can help. Its goal will be to develop adequate models of behavior and overcome difficult emotions. Psychotherapy also focuses on learning to regulate emotions and negative thoughts.

Dysphoria is not a disorder or disease, but it should always be consulted with a specialist, the so-called constellation of negative feelings clearly affects the functioning of sufferers, while reducing life satisfaction, self-esteem and self-esteem, so it is important at such a time to carry out appropriate treatment and provide support.