Dysthymic Disorder | Treatment

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What is the treatment for dysthymic disorder?

Dysthymic disorder can be treated with an antidepressant medicine. This type of drug helps relieve depression. Antidepressants don't cause people to feel "high," and they are not habit-forming.

It may take a number of weeks, or even several months, before you and your doctor know whether an antidepressant is helping you. It is important for you to take the medicine exactly as your doctor tells you. If the antidepressant helps you feel better, you may need to take this medicine for several years. You should continue to take the medicine, even if you begin to feel better. If you stop taking the medicine, you may get depressed again.

Sometimes there are side effects from stopping antidepressant medicine suddenly. If you want to stop taking your medicine, talk to your doctor first. Your doctor can help you avoid side effects from stopping your medicine too quickly.

Should I see a counselor too?

Sometimes, in addition to taking an antidepressant, patients find that counseling can help them deal with specific problems.

Many doctors believe that combining therapy with medication is the most effective way to treat dysthymia.

What can I do to help myself feel better?

Talking to your doctor about how you're feeling and getting treatment for dysthymic disorder are the first steps to feeling better. The following may also help.

  • Find activities that make you feel good or help you feel a sense of accomplishment. For example, go to a movie, take a drive on a pleasant day, go to a ball game or work in the garden. Doing something nice for someone else can also help.
  • Eat regular, well-balanced, healthy meals.
  • Avoid abusing drugs and alcohol. They can make depression worse.
  • Get regular exercise. Exercise can improve your mood. Exercising 4 to 6 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes each time is a good goal.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 02/14
Created: 06/96

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