Persistent Depressive Disorder Treatment

Orange County Mental Health Treatment

persistent depressive disorder

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Depression can make it hard to live one’s life to the fullest. It is especially true when someone experiences the symptoms for a long time. Persistent feelings of sadness or low mood can interfere with day-to-day activities. Here is a guide on persistent depressive disorder, its symptoms, and treatment.

What is Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)?

Dysthymia disorder, commonly known as persistent depressive disorder (PDD), is a moderate depression that lasts longer. People who have PDD are always sad and in a low mood. 

The symptoms can last for an extended period. The disorder can affect a person’s mood for at least two years. It can begin in childhood or adulthood and is common in women.

Symptoms of Dysthymia

Persistent depressive disorder symptoms are similar to major depressive disorder. However, the symptoms can last for two years in adults and one year in children. Common symptoms are:

  • Poor appetite
  • Feelings of sadness
  • irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Change in weight
  • Social withdrawal
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Recurring suicidal thoughts
  • Fatigue
  • Low self-esteem


People who have PDD will have one major depression episode once in their lives. Seniors with PDD are unable to take care of themselves and will feel isolated. People with PDD find it hard to function at work, home, or school. 

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Treatment for Dysthymia in Orange County

The treatment for persistent depressive disorder is not different from major depressive disorder. However, the treatment plans differ depending on the symptoms and severity, but the psychotherapy is the same.

An effective way to treat chronic depression is by using a combination of medication and therapy. Since the PDD is persistent, the treatment will not happen overnight. Fortunately, there are numerous support options to help along the way. Here are the methods used in persistent depressive disorder treatment.


Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, helps individuals to manage their symptoms and deal with the problems in their lives. The following are different types of treatment for PDD.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is used in treating depression and other mental health disorders. Its main goal is to help individuals to rewire their thoughts. When a person is depressed, their thoughts will wander, making them feel worse. 

Therapists help an individual to change their outlook. CBT helps patients to solve problems, explore their emotions, and learn coping skills.

Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy (CBASP)

The cognitive behavioral analysis system of psychotherapy is a new therapy used to manage chronic depression. It combines interpersonal strategies, CBT, and psychodynamics. CBASP goals are to improve functioning, develop problem-solving skills, and recognize the consequences of their behaviors.

Interpersonal Therapy

Interpersonal therapy focuses on the relationship and social issues that lead to PDD symptoms. The goal is to improve communication, deal with difficult emotions and help with relationship issues.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

The therapy combines meditation, mindfulness, and cognitive therapy to help treat PDD. It reduces the risk of recurrent depressive disorders.

Prescription Medication

Doctors will recommend various antidepressants for treating chronic depression. The medications include:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – the medications include fluoxetine or sertraline.
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) – include medications like duloxetine or venlafaxine.
  • Antidepressants such as bupropion
  • Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline

Most doctors begin by prescribing SSRIs because they work well for most people. However, it is not always easy to determine the appropriate medication to relieve PDD symptoms without causing side effects.

Patients need to try different medications until they find the appropriate solution for their situation. Therefore, patience is required since most medications will take several weeks to take effect. The doctor may change medications to find the one that works.

Lifestyle Changes

There are many lifestyle changes that an individual can make to relieve chronic depression symptoms. PDD is long-lasting, and making some changes will help one cope with it in the long term.


Poor diet is one of the risk factors for depression. Healthy eating not only improves overall health but depression as well. People suffering from PDD have to decide to add healthy foods to feel better. 

When it comes to food choices, avoid a strict diet. Add healthier foods to the diet and what is accessible. Some foods to include in the diet are vegetables, fruits, fatty fish, and whole grains.

Substance Use

One lifestyle change that will help alleviate depression is stopping substance use. Alcohol dependence is associated with an increased risk of depression. Dependency on substance abuse can lead to low mood and will worsen PDD.

Stress-relieving Activities

Everyone gets stressed at some point in their lives, and it’s especially the case for individuals who suffer from chronic major depressive disorder. The following activities will help in relieving stress.

  • Listening to music
  • Drinking some soothing tea
  • Mindfulness
  • Writing it out in a journal
  • Yoga
  • Spending time with family

Physical Activity

Physical activity is a lifestyle factor useful in treating persistent depressive disorder. Doing daily activities will help reduce depression risks. Exercise also boosts mental health and allows individuals to maintain their motivation. 

Exercise releases the feel-good hormones that boost the mood. It also reverses depressive symptoms by improving how the body responds to stress. One can start with short walks or morning stretches.


When dealing with depression, it is common for them to sleep too little or too much. If a person is having trouble sleeping, it is advisable to talk to healthcare professionals. The following tips will also be helpful:

  • Having a routine before bed – having a routine prepares one for bed. It could be brushing one’s teeth, reading a book, or putting on clothes for the next day ready. Avoid screens one hour before bedtime.
  • Consistent sleep schedule – going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time every day, which includes weekends, will be helpful. Try to sleep about seven to nine hours every night.
  • Comfortable sleep environment – the bedroom should be well suited for its job, that is sleeping. Ensure it is dark and there are no distractions.

Persistent depressive disorder, just like its name suggests, is depression that persists for a long time. It can be disheartening to always have low mood and other depressive symptoms. Being motivated to get help with such symptoms is also challenging. 

Fortunately, there are ways to treat PDD. A combination of psychotherapy and medication will help relieve the symptoms of chronic depression. People who suffer from PDD should seek treatment to help them get back to their normal lives.

Contact us today to get started with a suitable treatment plan.