Dysthymia, a form of depressive disorder that can lead to major depression, can be effectively treated with relief from severe symptoms in just three to four months. Treatment protocols can include psychotherapy, antidepressants, cognitive therapy, and group therapy. Doctors typically develop care plans based upon the severity of symptoms and the effectiveness of non-medicinal therapy.
How to Treat Dysthymia With Psychotherapy
When patients first contact a doctor about depressive symptoms, several clinical tests are used to distinguish dysthymia from other forms of depression. Once diagnosed, psychotherapy is often the first treatment protocol. Psychotherapy aims to discover the root cause of depression symptoms. Psychotherapy sessions most often last three to four months and can be followed by antidepressant therapy if symptoms are not relieved.
Antidepressants to Relieve Depression Symptoms
Antidepressants are not the first line of defense against dysthymia symptoms. Most antidepressant usage comes with an increased risk of suicide and a long list of potential side effects such as reduced sexual desire, mood swings, and weight gain or loss. Specific potential side effects for each medication can be found on the official website published by the drug manufacturer. If antidepressants are used to treat dysthymia, doctors often start patients on the lowest possible dose and adjust as needed.
How to Treat Dysthymia with Alternative Mental Therapies
While psychotherapy is the first choice of treatment, other mental therapies can be used effectively. Cognitive therapy works to retrain the brain to think positive thoughts instead of negative, self-defeating thoughts common in all forms of depression. Training can include hands on lessons in assertion, relaxation, and pleasure seeking.
Group therapy for depression is similar to the 12-Step program used by Alcoholics Anonymous and other addiction groups. The idea is to gather several people together who suffer from the same or similar thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Group sessions typically involve cognitive and psychotherapy angles, but instead of a doctor speaking to the patient on a one-to-one basis, an entire group of people are addressed by the professional. Group members are also allowed to address one another.
As a side step of group therapy, buddy systems are often used to create a more personal experience. Buddies are typically patients who have successfully managed depression symptoms and feel comfortable being a shoulder to lean on for a new member of the group.
Best Treatments for Dysthymia
Patients with depression can suffer one or more symptoms. Doctors will choose treatment regimes based on the more pronounced or severe symptoms in the hope of offering some relief to patients before advancing therapy to cover all symptoms. If choosing a best treatment option, many experts would agree seeking treatment is the best treatment of all.
There is no one “best" treatment for dysthymia. Experts estimate only one in five patients seek help, so any therapy is effective therapy. If left untreated, dysthymia can manifest into a more severe case of depression requiring extensive, long-term mental and medicinal therapy.
Treatment of Dysthymia – www.healthscout.com
Antidepressants – www.helpguide.org