Stress Techniques

Exercise Rules In Mental Illness And Depression Treatments

Tip! • Improve your time management skills • Eat a healthier diet • Start an exercise program • Create some eustress in your life • Use relaxation techniques.
Good news for mental health patients suffering from depression. Recent research indicates that exercise can be just as or even more effective than simply taking prescription drugs. For those accustomed to a life of inactivity, the prospect of daily exercise can seem overwhelming. Indeed, simply taking a pill can seem much easier and accessible than the commitment necessary to maintain a daily exercise regime. However, the cost and side affects associated with drugs makes the prospect of exercise as an effective therapy appear increasingly more attractive to doctors and their patients. Exercise therapy can be particularly more effective in patients who have not wholly benefited from drugs, although it appears almost anyone can benefit. Researchers at Duke University found that exercise can lift the mood of just about anyone suffering from symptoms of depression. In the Duke University study, 156 people suffering from severe depression were studied. On third of the group participated in an exercise regime for four months. Another third of the group also participated in an exercise regime, but their therapy was augmented with the use of the antidepressant drug Zoloft. The final third did not participate in the exercise program, but instead were only treated with the antidepressant.
Tip! Simply focus on your breathing, feeling the oxygen flood your body as you inhale and leave your body as you exhale.
The results were surprising and encouraging. The group that took no antidepressant drugs, whose treatment consisted solely of exercise, reported the greatest improvement. Although researchers were not able to pinpoint the exact ways exercise can aid lift depression, the study revealed that exercise alone can be an effective treatment option for people suffering from major depression. Some doctors speculate that exercise may be useful for a variety of physical and psychological reasons. Exercise can improve appearance, thus boosting one's self-esteem tremendously. Individuals suffering from major depression often complain of a physical and emotional "numbness." Exercise can apparently "jolt" people out of depression by making them conscious of movement and their body at work. Exercise can also give people a sense of control. They can develop a sense that they are in charge of their own bodies and over their lives. What other benefits might exercise have on people suffering from depression? Exercise assists counter the feelings of malaise and lethargy that accompany most bouts of depression. Exercise can also be a strong mood stabilizer. Exercise also helps ease insomnia and promotes healthy sleep patterns.
Tip! Substantial breakfast daily Regular sleeping habits (minimum of 7 hours) No smoking Moderate use of alcohol, caffeine and other drugs Minimal intake of sugar & highly processed foods Maintenance of proper weight Regular exercise program Drink much more water than you usually do.
Exercise can also be very effective at lessening feelings of loneliness. Individuals suffering from major depression are encouraged to exercise with someone else or a group. This can help build a bond and support community that can be an invaluable source of security. Motivation appears to be one of the biggest obstacles that patients must overcome. Exercising with a friend or group can be excellent motivation. The Duke University study indicates that the positive effects of exercise can be sustained. Unlike drug therapy, which can stop working if a patient stops to take their medication, the effects of exercise can linger indefinitely. As long as patients continue to exercise regularly, it appears that the soothing effects of exercise will persist.
Tip! Lack of sleep, poor diet and no exercise wreaks havoc on our body and mind.
What type of exercise program is best for individuals suffering from depression? Clinical trials are still being conducted to determine the best way to administer this type of exercise therapy. However, current research demonstrates that in order to receive the maximum benefits from exercise, patients should participate in a program that is at least nine weeks long. It appears that the longer and more intense the exercise workouts are, the more benefits the patient may expect to reap. However, any kind of exercise, including a short walk around the block, appears to be beneficial. It is recommended that they consult their physician or mental health professional before beginning an exercise therapy program, particularly if they have not been active in year or are over 40.