There are a number of things you can try to improve dysthymia:
- Get enough sleep.
- Follow a healthy, nutritious diet.
- Take medicines correctly. Discuss any side effects with yourdoctor.
- Learn to watch for early signs that your dysthymia is getting worse. Have a plan for how to respond if it does.
- Try to exercise regularly.
- Look for activities that make you happy.
- Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling.
- Surround yourself with people who are caring and positive.
- Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs. These can make your mood worse over time and impair your judgment.
Medications are often effective for dysthymia, though they sometimes do not work as well as they do for major depression, and may take longer to work.
Don’t stop taking your medicine on your own, even if you feel better or have side effects. Always call your doctor first.
When it is time to stop your medicine, you and your doctor will slowly reduce the dose instead of stopping suddenly.
People with dysthymia may also be helped by some type of talk therapy. Talk therapy is a good place to talk about feelings and thoughts, and to learn ways to deal with them. Types of talk therapy include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps you learn to be more aware of your symptoms and what makes them worse. You will be taught problem-solving skills.
- Insight-oriented or psychotherapy, which can help people with dysthymia understand factors that may be behind their depressive thoughts and feelings.
Joining a support group for people who are having problems like yours can also help. Ask your therapist or health care provider to recommend a group.