Mental health service use by patients with dysthymic disorder: Treatment use and dropout in a 7 1/2-year naturalistic follow-up study

Academic Article


  • Little is known about long-term treatment use among patients with dysthymia. This paper describes patterns of treatment use by 85 outpatients with dysthymic disorder and a comparison group of 36 outpatients with nonchronic (episodic) major depression in a naturalistic follow-up. Patients with dysthymia had higher rates of treatment use across 7 1/2 years compared with patients with episodic major depression. Baseline variables that predicted which patients with dysthymia dropped out of treatment before recovering from dysthymic disorder included age, ethnicity, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Revised Third Edition Axis II pathology as obtained from informant reports, higher self-reported autonomy, and receiving psychotherapy alone as compared to receiving a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Dysthymic disorder places a significant burden on the mental health services system, yet many outpatients with dysthymia may be receiving inadequate treatment. Younger patients, ethnic minority patients, and patients with personality disorders may be at increased risk of dropping out from treatment for depression. Combination treatments may increase treatment retention. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • McFarland BR; Klein DN
  • Start Page

  • 246
  • End Page

  • 253
  • Volume

  • 46
  • Issue

  • 4