A two-pronged, long-term treatment approach includes medication combined with "talk therapy." Either medication or psychotherapy can be effective for dysthymic disorder, and sometimes a combination of both may work best.
Antidepressants , such as selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors or tricyclic antidepressants, are often used to treat dysthymic disorder. Because you may need to continue treatment for a lengthy period, it's important to consider which medications have fewer side effects. You may need to try more than one medication to find the one that works best. But know that it may take several weeks to take effect. Take your medications as your doctor instructs. If they're causing side effects or still not working after several weeks, discuss this with your doctor. Don't suddenly stop taking your medications.
Specific kinds of talk therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or interpersonal therapy (IPT) are known effective forms of psychotherapy that treat dysthymic disorder. A structured treatment lasting for a certain period of time, CBT involves recognizing and restructuring thoughts. It can help you change your distorted thinking. IPT is also a time-limited, structured treatment. Its focus is on addressing current problems and solving interpersonal conflicts.
Some studies also suggest that aerobic exercise can help with mood disorders. This is most effective when done four to six times a week. But some exercise is better than none at all. Other changes may also help, including seeking social support and finding an interesting occupation. Used for patients with seasonal affective disorder, bright-light therapy may also help some people with dysthymic disorder.
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