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How Is Dysthymia Diagnosed?
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A mental health specialist generally makes the diagnosis based on the person's symptoms. In the case of dysthymia, these symptoms will have lasted for a longer period of time and be less severe than in patients with major depression.
With dysthymia, your doctor will want to make sure that the symptoms are not a result of a physical condition, such as hypothyroidism.
If you are depressed and have had depressive symptoms for more than two weeks, see your doctor or a psychiatrist. Your provider will perform a thorough medical evaluation, paying particular attention to your personal and family psychiatric history.
There is no blood, X-ray or other laboratory test that can be used to diagnose dysthymia.
How Is Dysthymia Treated?
While dysthymia is a serious illness, it's also very treatable. As with any chronic illness, early diagnosis and medical treatment may reduce the intensity and duration of symptoms and also reduce the likelihood of developing an episode of major depression.
To treat dysthymia, doctors may use psychotherapy (talk therapy), medications such as antidepressants, or a combination of these therapies. Often, dysthymia can be treated by a primary care physician.
What Is Psychotherapy?
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Psychotherapy (or talk therapy) is used in dysthymia and other mood disorders to help the person develop appropriate coping skills to deal with everyday life. Psychotherapy can also help increase compliance to medication and healthy lifestyle habits, as well as help the patient and family understand the mood disorder. You may benefit from one-on-one therapy, family therapy, group therapy, or a support group with others who suffer with chronic depression.
Reviewed on 1/31/2012
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Dysthymia - Diagnosis Question: How was your dysthymia diagnosed?
Dysthymia - Causes Question: What caused your dysthymia?
Dysthymia - Psychotherapy Question: If you have depression (dysthymia), have you tried psychotherapy? Please share your experience.
Dysthymia - Antidepressants Question: Please discuss your experience with any medications you've been prescribed for depression (dysthymia).
Dysthymia - Additional Support Question: Besides medication and talk therapy, what other ways have helped you deal with dysthmyia?
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