The Most Effective Treatment For Chronic Depression

Dysthymia is a chronic depression that is less severe than major depression, but which can last for years at a time. While people with dysthymia are generally able to function adequately, their symptoms and chronic unhappiness can make life difficult and keep them from an optimum level of functioning.

Fortunately, dysthymia is a treatable condition. The most effective treatment appears to be a combination of psychotherapy and medication, although the best course of treatment can vary by patient. It is not always necessary to see a mental health specialist for ongoing treatment--dysthymia is a condition that is often treated by primary care physicians.


Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is one of the most tested and effective forms of psychotherapy, and it can be used to treat dysthymia. Other types of therapy that may be used include family therapy, group therapy, or other individual talk therapies. These types of therapies can all help a person with dysthymia to develop coping skills and learn and comply with healthy lifestyle behaviors.


Antidepressants can be prescribed to treat dysthymia, alone or in combination with psychotherapy. The most likely antidepressants to be prescribed are those in the classes known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). These classes include drugs like Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Effexor, and Cymbalta.

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