Dysthymia can be understood as a type of depression that involves long-term chronic symptoms that are not disabling. However, the symptoms keep a person from functioning well enough or from feeling good. It is a less severe depression but in some cases people suffering from this condition may occasionally experience depressive episodes. As such, it is, therefore, true to deduce that that there exist a continuum between dysthymia and major depression. This paper discusses Dysthymia through explaining its history and examining how the philosophies its treatments have evolved over time.
History of Dysthymia
Dysthymia is a term that refers to “ill-humored”. Dysthymia was first recognized by Kahlbaum, who was able to distinguish the condition from cyclothymia that is a fluctuating mood (Parker, McCraw, & Fletcher, 2012). However, all depressive moods that last more than two years were defined as dysthymic disorders. The historic roots of this condition are essentially Greek. In 1884, C.F. Fleming was the first one to use this term Dysthymia. K.L. Kahlbaum developed a concept of cyclothymia, hyperthermia, and dysthymia. Nonetheless in 1882, the term Dysthymia was replaced with cyclothymia where “cyclothymia” was ill-defined. To date, cyclothyma has evolved in meaning popularly used as a synonym for bipolar disorder, secondly, as a subaffective disorder and finally as temperament (Parker, McCraw, & Fletcher, 2012). Initially, dysthymia was classified as a type of character disorder. In this case, it was thought that an individual’s core problems were stemming from temperament or depressive personalities. Today, it is widely accepted that Dysthymia is a mood disorder rather than temperament disorder.

The evolution of dysthymia treatment philosophy
The initial dysthymia was viewed as a character disorder. As such, treatments were based on a psychotherapeutic disorder. This was because there were a few systematic studies that informed on the efficacy of using antidepressants to treat or manage dysthymia. During this period, there was a negative thought towards pharmacotherapy impacting the medication types that were available. They included, for example, tricyclic antidepressants that had very unpleasant side effects.
Today, it is widely accepted that Dysthymia is a mood disorder and not temperament disorder. Therefore, the understanding of this condition has informed new ways of managing and treating it. The treatment philosophy has thus changed from psychotherapeutic to pharmacological treatments. The chronic nature of an individual’s condition can only become apparent after a few therapy sessions. This is important so that the condition can be appropriately diagnosed.
Today the best treatment that is undertaken to address this condition involves a combination of approaches. They involve psychotherapy and antidepressants combination. These can be a therapy that focuses on the cognitive behavior of the individual, the antidepressant Serzone or a combination of both (Pandya, 2014).
To help individuals with dysthymia, some pharmacotherapy options exist today. They include the following: in the treatment of dysthymia condition, short-term approaches are more valuable (Jain, 2015). At the same time, the treatment philosophy focuses on patience with the patient. This is important since if the process is hurried it may backfire. Group therapy is just one way that such individuals can be treated. Such efforts that include couples therapy have shown much success or even family therapy. However, people in an intimate relationship have been found to respond well to couple therapy when their significant other is engaged.
Similarly, Jain et al., (2015) observes that cognitive therapy can be used so that the manner in which someone thinks can be changed. This also changes their distorted thinking and their perception of the world. For those whose relationship with others is messed up due to the condition, dysthymia. Interpersonal therapy is involved so as to help strengthen the relationships or establish new ones. In some occasions, there could be problems plaguing an individual at the moment thus triggering a relapse or leading them to dysthymia as well as depression. In such circumstances, the solution focused therapies have been identified to respond well to dysthymia patients. Medication too has become a significant process in the treatment of dysthymia. People with this condition are always administered with antidepressant medications. The most commonly administered prescription involves selective serotonin. On the other hand, it is always important for one to try as many brands till they find that which responds well to them.
Finally, other philosophies in the dysthymia treatment believe in self-help as a way of treatment (Pandya, 2014). Patients are thus encouraged always to try out coping skills, cognitive restructuring, and assertiveness skills. Developing new and healthier relationships can also help one get some relief. Most importantly, one should always be careful not to try and use previously failed methods to treat or manage dysthymia.

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