In this Article
- What causes dysthymia?
- What are the signs and symptoms of dysthymia?
- Is dysthymia common in the U.S.?
- How is dysthymia diagnosed?
- How is dysthymia treated?
- What is psychotherapy?
- How do antidepressants help ease dysthymia?
- What else can I do to feel better?
- Can dysthymia worsen?
- Find a local Psychiatrist in your town
How Do Antidepressants Help Ease Dysthymia?
There are different classes of antidepressants available to treat dysthymia. Your doctor will assess your physical and mental health, including any other medical condition, and then find the antidepressant that is most effective with the least side effects.
Antidepressants may take several weeks to work optimally. They should be taken for at least six to nine months after an episode of chronic depression. In addition, it takes several weeks to go off an antidepressant, so let your doctor guide you if you choose to stop the drug.
Sometimes antidepressants have uncomfortable side effects. That's why you have to work closely with your doctor to find the antidepressant that gives you the most benefit with the least side effects.
What Else Can I Do to Feel Better?
Getting an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment is a major step in feeling better with chronic depression. In addition, ask your doctor about the benefits of healthy lifestyle habits such as eating a well-balanced diet, getting regular exercise, avoiding alcohol and smoking, and being with close friends and family members for strong social support. These positive habits are also important in improving mood and well-being.
Can Dysthymia Worsen?
It's not uncommon for a person with dysthymia to also experience an episode of major depression at the same time. This is called double depression. That's why it's so important to seek an early and accurate medical diagnosis. Your doctor can then recommend the most effective treatment to help you feel yourself again.
WebMD Medical Reference
National Institute of Mental Health: "What Is Depression?" "Dysthymic Disorder Among Adults."
American Academy of Family Physicians: "Dysthymic Disorder: When Depression Lingers."
Fieve, R. Bipolar II, Rodale, 2006.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV).
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on January 31, 2012
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