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Treating Dysthymia

The following treatment guidelines are meant as a reference tool only, and are not intended as treatment advice or to replace the clinical decision-making process of psychiatrists or other health professionals who administer these treatments. In clinical practice there are often good reasons why treatment approaches differ from what is described here.


The strategies for treating Dysthymia should follow the same guidelines as for treating a Major Depressive Episode. The only difference is that in Step 1, medications should be started alone without any psychotherapy. This is because studies to date have found that the currently available forms of psychotherapy are only marginally effective for Dysthymia [ref, ref], and that there is little benefit of adding psychotherapy to medications when treating Dysthymia [ref, ref, ref].


Major Depressive Episode

Major Depressive Episode with Psychotic Features