Persistent Depressive Disorder


Medically reviewed by Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS

Persistent depressive disorder treatment

The specific approach that’s most successful for treating PDD may differ from person to person. However, the following methods have proven useful for improving the symptoms of PDD:

  • Psychotherapy16: Psychotherapy has been found to be one of the most effective treatments for a wide variety of mental disorders. Also known as “talk therapy,” psychotherapy involves speaking to a mental health professional—such as a therapist or psychiatrist—about your thoughts, feelings, symptoms, and overall issues. While psychotherapy may be used in conjunction with medication, it is possible that therapy alone can improve (or even eliminate) the symptoms of PDD.
  • Medication: There are many medications available that are effective in treating the signs and symptoms of PDD that psychotherapy alone may not remedy. Medication is often used to help elevate your mood to a more normal baseline before or during psychotherapy. The medication or combination of medications that works best is different for every person.
  • Changes in diet17: In some cases, PDD can be caused or worsened by eating a poor diet. Independent research has found through randomized and controlled trials that the symptoms of depression dropped at high rates when patients ate healthier diets. The rationale behind these results states that eating a diet lacking in nutrient-rich foods causes inflammation that can lead to a chemical imbalance in the brain.

Psychotherapy for persistent depressive disorder

Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, has proven very successful in treating18 persistent depressive disorder. This treatment works by discussing the issues and symptoms that may be causing your condition and identifying what may be causing your symptoms.

There are different kinds of approaches to psychotherapy. These include one-on-one therapy, in which you meet with a specialist individually. Also included is family therapy, in which your parents, siblings, other loved ones, or whoever you are close to attend and participate in a therapy session with you.

Group therapy is another form of therapy that has been found to be helpful. This involves meeting with a group of other individuals—sometimes in your age group—that have similar conditions or concerns. In these sessions, you and the other participants talk through your thoughts, feelings, and week-to-week problems. A moderator is usually present to make sure the discussion stays on task.

Persistent depressive disorder medication

Your provider may prescribe the following medications for persistent depressive disorder:

May be prescribed

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Lifestyle and coping with persistent depressive disorder

Living with PDD19 can be difficult. However, it is possible to see improvement if the right steps are taken. Here are some steps you can take to coping with PDD:

  • Educate yourself about your condition. The more you know, the more you can do to help yourself. This includes talking to your healthcare provider, asking for referrals or recommendations, and researching techniques for dealing with symptoms.
  • Stay on top of your treatment: It’s vital that you take your prescribed medications as directed and attend all scheduled appointments. While it can be difficult to stay on track of things when you are depressed, doing so will make sure you’re getting the most benefit from your treatments.
  • Increase your organizational skills: As previously mentioned, a lack of motivation or concentration is one of the main symptoms of dysthymia. Making sure you have a routine (and sticking to it) is key to staying on track with treatment.
  • Get out your frustration and take care of your well-being: This can be through exercise, meditation, or other physical or spiritual activities you enjoy. Forgetting your problems and letting loose through physical activity is a great way to release endorphins, and checking in with yourself mentally helps you stay mindful of your thoughts, feelings, and progress throughout treatment.
  • Seek support when needed: While PDD may cause you to isolate yourself from friends and family, it’s important that you reach out to them when you’re in need. If you’re comfortable doing so, talk to your loved ones about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Talking to a mental healthcare professional is also key to putting a strong support system in place. While dealing with PDD can be difficult, you don’t have to do it alone. There is no shame in seeking treatment for a health condition—especially one that is not your fault.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1–800–273–8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

You may also reach out to the Samaritans: Call or text (877) 870-HOPE (4673).

Disclaimer: The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.

If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.