Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Beating depression: Refuting a study that says exercise is useless in treating depression

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Depression is one of the most common mental disorders that, if left untreated, can have a major negative impact on a person’s life. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to beat the condition, and many experts agree that regular exercise is one of them.

However, Medical News Today mentioned that a study published in BMJ , which sparked an uproar of criticisms, suggested that exercise is not beneficial in treating depression. The study presented, however, was a bit misleading since it was only about finding out whether adding a “specific physical activity intervention” to the usual care that depressed patients get would significantly reduce their symptoms.

The researchers from Universities of Bristol, Exeter, and the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry called their intervention TREAD (TREAtment of Depression with physical activity). It is a theory-based intervention that provides a trained facilitator who gives customized support to patients to perform physical activity.

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The study implied that the participants in the TREAD intervention showed no better results than those receiving the usual care. Participants of the former also indicated no reduced antidepressant use compared to those of the latter. The researchers emphasized that their study did not conclude that exercise, in general, is not useful for depression, but the details of their study could be used by healthcare professionals in choosing which exercise programs are more effective than the others.

"Numerous studies have reported the positive effects of physical activity for people suffering with depression but our intervention was not an effective strategy for reducing symptoms," explained Melanie Chalder, lead author of the research.

Meanwhile, mental health experts still support the idea that exercise is an effective tool in helping patients alleviate depression, especially if they are at risk of developing other serious illnesses.

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In the course of his profession, Dr. Gary Zomalt has helped clients attain optimal mental health. Know more information on related topics by visiting this Facebook page.