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Prescribing Exercise before Medication for Depression

Exercise may be new breakthrough for this disease

Mar 25 2014, 6:05pm CDT | by

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Prescribing Exercise before Medication for Depression

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Prescribing Exercise before Medication for Depression

The Atlantic reports: Depression is the most common mental illness—affecting a staggering 25 percent of Americans—but a growing body of research suggests that one of its best cures is cheap and ubiquitous. In 1999, a randomized controlled trial showed that depressed adults who took part in aerobic exercise improved as much as those treated with Zoloft. A 2006 meta-analysis of 11 studies bolstered those findings and recommended that physicians counsel their depressed patients to try it. A 2011 study took this conclusion even further: It looked at 127 depressed people who hadn’t experienced relief from SSRIs, a common type of antidepressant, and found that exercise led 30 percent of them into remission—a result that was as good as, or better than, drugs alone.

Joel Ginsberg was a sophomore at a college in Dallas when the social anxiety he had felt throughout his life morphed into an all-consuming hopelessness. He struggled to get out of bed, and even the simplest tasks felt herculean.

“The world lost its color,” he said. “Nothing interested me; I didn’t have any motivation. There was a lot of self-doubt.”

He thought getting some exercise might help, but it was hard to motivate himself to go to the campus gym.

“So what I did is break it down into mini-steps,” he said. “I would think about just getting to the gym, rather than going for 30 minutes. Once I was at the gym, I would say, ‘I’m just going to get on the treadmill for five minutes.’”

Eventually, he found himself reading novels for long stretches at a time while pedaling away on a stationary bike. Soon, his gym visits became daily. If he skipped one day, his mood would plummet the next.

 

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/4" rel="author">Susan McGlaun</a>
Susan is the editor of the shopping guide on I4U News. She is finding for our readers the best deals and the most interesting products to buy. She lives for finding a great deal that can save our readers serious money. For every season Susan is reporting about the best gift ideas including Back-to-School and of course the Holidays.
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