How to get help for dysthymia in the UK, when the GP told me the only treatment is avoiding the difficulties?

Hi there, I'm new here. I have been suffering from so many symptoms that my doctor (GP) could not make sense of them. I visited my surgery three times in a year, mainly complained about fatigue, rhinitis, insomnia and noise sensitivity. The doctors did not diagnose any disease or agree to refer me to a specialist. I also saw a counsellor at my university, but medical help could only be sought at the GP. Is there an other way to get help?

At the moment, my symptoms include:

- feeling tired all the time, sometimes flushing on face and ears

- nose blocked with mucus, sometimes causing headache, eased only when startled or when exercising

- inability to stay asleep

- irritated by traffic noise that other people don't find disturbing

- arch pain

Most of my symptoms worsen when I move home, especially if the conditions of my home is worse than before. While being a doctoral student from abroad, I have to move frequently. Immediately following a move, I usually develop very strong psychological symptoms of depression and anxiety, because I feel that 'just sustaining life is so difficult that I can't do anything else.'

I have had these problems for many years. I only sought ad hoc medical advice a few times during 'bad periods'. But I think there must be an underlying cause that explains most (if not all) of them. I suspect that it is mild chronic depression (dysthymia), but it could be CFS or many others. Blood and other tests reveal nothing wrong, but I do have a slow heart rate (~50) and an overactive parasympathetic nervous system.

I hesitate to see a psychiatrist, because the negative emotions are usually absent until a bad period triggered by moving or pressure, and as the GPs told me, the only 'treatment' is to move to a better place and to avoid pressure altogether. I had some unfortunate experiences before, which make me think that I am among the unluckiest people. But these experiences do not seem to correlate to the onset time of my problems.

9 Replies

  • Hi how awful for you. I would be asking for more tests in case there is a physical cause of your symptoms including blood tests and seeing if you are deficient in any vitamins. Lack of vitamin D or vitamin b can cause some of them. Why not try taking some vitamins and see if it helps? If you are going for the vitamin B then it's B12 you want.

    I hope you find some answers. x

  • Thanks for the reply. I had several blood tests but nothing special was found. I took vitamin B's for over a year and did not see any effect.

  • Or an under-active thyroid? I've been diagnosed with both dysthymia and hypothyroidism.

  • Thanks for the reply. I was tested and do not have hypothyroidism.

  • Oh good--I'm glad.

  • Hello phkwax

    Welcome to the Action on Depression Forum.

    Most of us with anxiety and depression often suffer other symptoms which when tested, prove negative.

    You have realised that they coincide with the uncertainty of moving and the condition of your housing and that the symptoms resolve once you settle.

    Now that you have had many tests which have proved negative, maybe you can accept this happens and look for extra support before and during the times of distress. We are always here to support you at any time and I hope you will feel able to come here whenever you wish.

    Very best wishes with you studies


  • Good advice.


  • Your other choice would be a private psychiatry appointment. They would be able consider dysthymia for you on the basis of your history. Pressure on NHS appointments is such that you probably won't qualify for NHS referral.

  • Do you also suffer from migraines? Mine aren't traditional migraines, they are vestibular. Luckily I don't experience pain most of the time, but I do get incredibly sensitive to noise.

    Sometimes I get so sensitive that loud noises make me feel sick, sometimes it's just light that makes me feel ill.

    It's really positive that you know what your triggers are.


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