What is Dysphoria: Causes, Symptoms, Types and Treatment


Dysphoria is characterized by a feeling of general unhappiness, restlessness, frustration or dissatisfaction, which can be the result of a variety of mental health conditions.

What is dysphoria?

The psychological condition dysphoria is often accompanied or caused by mental health conditions. The environment, stress, grief, and relationship problems can also cause it.

Dysphoria can often be temporary, as a mood can cause a person to experience a disorder. There is also the possibility of long-term dysphoric states, and long-term dysphoric state is commonly associated with mood disorders, such as major depression, mania and cyclothymia.

Dysphoric conditions can also result from nutritional deficiencies or health conditions. Patients with hypoglycemia may experience this condition, while chronic illnesses can cause them to feel frustrated and unhappy.

As opposed to euphoria, dysphoria is based on a feeling of profound uneasiness or dissatisfaction. Dysphoria is not itself a mental health term, but it’s a symptom associated with a wide range of mental illnesses including stress, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.

Read: What is Self-harm

Signs of dysphoria

Dysphoria sometimes occurs in conjunction with other signs of depression or mental health problems, such as crying, losing interest in pleasure activities, loss of appetite, and problems sleeping. These are some of the common symptoms of dysphoria:

  • Apathy
  • Fatigue
  • Low life satisfaction
  • Sadness
  • Unease
  • Worry

Dysphoric people also seem to think differently. Dysphoric condition was found to be associated with more frequent thoughts about the future in a 2019 study published in Psychiatry Research.

There was a higher likelihood of negative thoughts and implausible outcomes among people with dysphoric conditions.

The cause of dysphoria is uncertain, and the cause of bleaker outlooks maybe this condition or more negative thoughts.

Dysphoria vs. Dysmorphia

It is common to use the terms “dysphoria” and “dysmorphia” interchangeably, but each word has its own meaning.

It is common for people to use dysphoria to refer to gender dysphoria. Dysphoria by itself indicates a general feeling of dissatisfaction (such as that caused by one’s gender identity when suffering from gender dysphoria). Alternatively, dysmorphia refers to an irregularity of size or shape. A body dysmorphic disorder is a psychological disorder in which an individual has a distorted view of their body.

Read: Dysgraphia


There might not be a need to diagnose dysphoric conditions as a mental illness such as depression. They may exhibit mild symptoms or symptoms of a short duration that do not qualify.

Women between the ages of 25 and 44 have the highest risk of experiencing dysphoric conditions. Dysphoric conditions can last for a short time or be fleeting. It often resolves quickly. The risk of suicide may be increased with a long-term dysphoric state, a symptom often associated with mental illness.


Feelings of dysphoria can be caused by a variety of factors. These factors include:

  • Stress: Dysphoric conditions can be caused by stressors in one’s environment, such as the loss of a loved one, a stressful work environment, or family conflict.
  • Health conditions: There are also physical conditions that can cause dysphoric conditions, including nutritional deficiencies, thyroid problems, and toxicities.
  • Medications: Some medications can also cause dysphoric conditions as a side effect.

Other mental health conditions

Many mental health conditions can cause dysphoria. Here are some conditions that may cause dysphoria:

Substance use

People who have alcohol dependency often experience dysphoria when drinking heavily. Dysphoria and poor clinical outcomes are common in people with alcohol dependence and mood disorders.

Dysphoria can lead to drinking excessively in some cases. Alcohol can also cause dysphoria in some cases. Drinking less often can improve a person’s mood, but the effect is not immediate.

It is common to experience a dysphoric state after withdrawal.

The symptoms usually subside once hunger and sleep improve.

Read: Tobacco Use Disorder

Tobacco use

According to studies, dysphoria is also associated with smoking. It was found to increase the likelihood of withdrawal symptoms associated with nicotine. The most significant association between dysphoric conditions and smoking outcomes is among all depressive symptoms. It is suspected to be central to the establishment and maintenance of maladaptive smoking.

People who suffer from pain-related anxiety are much more likely to smoke cigarettes to cope with dysphoric conditions, according to a study published in Addictive Behaviors in 2019.

Types of dysphoria

Informally, dysphoria is not classified into different types because it is not a diagnosable mental disorder. Although there are several types of dysphoria, there are also some related conditions that are considered unofficially dysphoric states.

Gender dysphoria

Dysphoria is currently the most common term used to describe gender dysphoria. In this condition, an individual experiences distress when the sex assigned at birth differs from the one they identify as.

People sometimes get over dysphoric conditions when they transition to their preferred gender or begin to live as their preferred gender. People may still experience it after transitioning and during it.

Read: Schizophreniform Disorder

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is also a type of dysphoric state. The symptoms of PMDD are more severe than those of premenstrual syndrome.

There are various physical and psychological symptoms of depression, such as moodiness, irritability, depression, and low self-esteem. This can be controlled by medication and a change in lifestyle.

Tardive dysphoria

Tardive dysphoria is caused by chronic depression that is resistant to treatment. This type is associated with the long-term use of antidepressants.


Seek professional help if you experience a dysphoric state for more than two weeks. Talk with your doctor first. It can be caused by medical conditions or medications that interact. Talk to your doctor to rule these out.

Your symptoms can be assessed by a mental health professional in order to determine whether a mental health condition lies behind it. Treatment for dysphoria will depend on the underlying cause.

It may be recommended that you seek therapy, medication, or lifestyle changes to help you feel better and improve your mood.

Read: Clinical Psychology


People who experience disphoric conditions may also find it helpful to modify their lifestyles, in addition to professional treatment. Dysphoric feelings can be treated in several ways, including:

  • Adjust your routines: The feeling of dysphoric states can sometimes result from feeling stuck in routines that don’t help you break out of it. If your daily habits don’t lift your mood, you may need to adjust them.
  • Try to eat healthily: Making sure you eat well can help reduce feelings of dysphoric conditions. Nutrition factors can also affect mood and mental health.
  • Exercise: Research shows that exercise has a positive impact on mental health, and it may even help patients suffering from depression. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Spend time with friends and family: People who suffer may isolate themselves, but social support can play an important role in their mental health. Try to find ways to spend more time with family and friends.

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