Severe and Chronic Depression
You can’t even remember the last time you laughed. It feels like depression has swallowed your life whole, with no way out in sight. Maybe you have already tried a few different antidepressants, but none really touched the depression. At this point you may not have much hope of ever reclaiming your old self.
When depression has someone in its grip it can cause hopelessness and despair as the consequences of this serious mental health disorder begin to take a toll. Maybe you have lost a job, lost a relationship or a spouse, or just lost hope. The important thing to realize is that there are other avenues to explore to effectively treat chronic depression. When it comes to getting persistent depressive disorder treatment, there is help available, and there is hope.
What is Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)
Persistent depressive disorder (PDD), also referred to as dysthymia, is a long-term—over 2 years—unrelenting bout of experiencing the symptoms of depression. In the US, an estimated 3.3 million adults suffer from PDD, according to statistics provided by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. It differs from major depressive disorder in that the symptoms are milder, but last for a much longer span of time.
Symptoms of PDD
People who struggle with PDD describe feeling blue, or down in the dumps, almost all the time. Before making a diagnosis of PDD, the individual will have a thorough medical evaluation to ensure that the depression is not related to a health condition or a substance use disorder. Absent that, the symptoms of PDD include experiencing at least two of the following symptoms for most of the day for over two years:
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Overeating or poor appetite
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Fatigue, low energy
- Poor self-esteem
- Trouble concentrating or making decisions
By the time an individual seeks treatment for their PDD it is usually due to ongoing interpersonal or social functioning problems that are plaguing them. Because they have grown to assume their chronic mildly depressed state is just the way they have always been, they may not even be aware they have a mental health condition.
How to Treat Persistent Depressive Disorder
Treating PDD starts with a thorough medical and psychiatric evaluation that can identify a co-occurring substance use disorder or a mental health disorder such as social anxiety or phobia disorder. This helps the treatment provider determine the best avenue for treatment.
Generally, PDD is treated in much the same way as major depressive disorder. The use of both antidepressant medication and psychotherapy are the standard treatment protocols. The drug, Serzone (nefazodone) has been shown to be effective for PDD, but other SSRIs prescribed for chronic depression, such as Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft may also be used to treat PDD. It may require trialing more than one to find the drug that offers the best results with the least side effects.
Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is an essential treatment element for PDD, as it can help the individual confront issues or deep-seated pain that may be a contributing factor to the chronic depression. Therapists will guide this self-examination and uncover negative thought patterns that can lead to sinking feelings of self-worth and despair, and help the client turn these self-defeating patterns around using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Persistent depressive disorder treatment can be offered in either an inpatient (residential) setting or as an outpatient program. For more severe cases of PDD, the inpatient program provides a higher standard of care and more targeted interventions. Mild to moderate PDD can successfully be treated through an outpatient program which will provide counseling and medication management. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, also know as TMS Depression Therapy, is an innovative depression treatment technology for medication resistance depression. There are also support groups for those with chronic depression, which offer peer support and a platform for sharing therapeutic techniques and personal experiences with others.
Seeking Help for Persistent Depressive Disorder Treatment
The Treatment Specialist will connect you with a treatment center who has a team of highly experienced professionals in the mental health field who can guide you or a loved one toward PDD treatment plan. A Treatment Specialist will begin by offering a free assessment and insurance check. Get the help you or a loved one needs today for chronic and major persistent depressive disorder treatment—contact a Treatment Specialist at (866) 644-7911.