Lifestyle and home remedies
Persistent depressive disorder generally isn't a condition that you can treat on your own. But, in addition to professional treatment, these self-care steps can help:
- Stick to your treatment plan. Don't skip psychotherapy sessions or appointments, and even if you're feeling well, don't skip your medications. Give yourself time to improve gradually.
- Learn about persistent depressive disorder. Education about your condition can empower you and motivate you to stick to your treatment plan. Encourage your family to learn about the disorder to help them understand and support you.
- Pay attention to warning signs. Work with your doctor or therapist to learn what might trigger your symptoms. Make a plan so that you know what to do if symptoms get worse or return. Contact your doctor or therapist if you notice any changes in symptoms or how you feel. Consider involving family members or friends to watch for warning signs.
- Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, be physically active and get plenty of sleep. Consider walking, jogging, swimming, gardening or another activity that you enjoy. Sleeping well is important for both your physical and mental well-being. If you're having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about what you can do.
- Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs. It may seem like alcohol or drugs lessen depression-related symptoms, but in the long run they generally worsen depression and make it harder to treat. Talk with your doctor or therapist if you need help with alcohol or drug abuse.
Coping and support
Persistent depressive disorder makes it hard to engage in behavior and activities that can help you feel better. In addition to the treatments recommended by your doctor or therapist, consider these tips:
- Focus on your goals. Dealing with persistent depressive disorder is an ongoing process. Set reasonable goals for yourself. Stay motivated by keeping your goals in mind. But give yourself permission to do less when you feel down.
- Simplify your life. Cut back on obligations when possible. Structure your time by planning your day. You may find it helps to make a list of daily tasks, use sticky notes as reminders or use a planner to stay organized.
- Write in a journal. Journaling as part of your treatment may improve mood by allowing you to express pain, anger, fear or other emotions.
- Read reputable self-help books and websites. Ask your doctor or therapist to recommend books or websites to read.
- Stay connected. Don't become isolated. Try to participate in social activities, and get together with family or friends regularly. Support groups for people with depression can help you connect with others facing similar challenges and share experiences.
- Learn ways to relax and manage your stress. Examples include meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga and tai chi.
- Don't make important decisions when you're down. Avoid decision-making when you're feeling depressed, since you may not be thinking clearly.
There's no sure way to prevent persistent depressive disorder. Because it often starts in childhood or during the teenage years, identifying children at risk of the condition may help them get early treatment.
Strategies that may help ward off symptoms include the following:
- Take steps to control stress, to increase your resilience and to boost your self-esteem.
- Reach out to family and friends, especially in times of crisis, to help you weather rough spells.
- Get treatment at the earliest sign of a problem to help prevent symptoms from worsening.
- Consider getting long-term maintenance treatment to help prevent a relapse of symptoms.
Dec. 19, 2015
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Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia)