When Dr. Madhukar Trivdei, professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, noticed that several of his patient who suffered from serious depression reported that they felt better after a walk, he started to consider exercise as an additional therapy. These patients were taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors but were not responding fully. Dr. Trivedi and his colleagues wondered if prescribing a formal “dose” of exercise who aid their recovery. Instead of adding anther drugs to their regime, they focused on adding exercise.
Along with collaborators at Cooper Institute in Dallas, the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiano and other institutions, Dr. Trivedi recruited 126 people with depresseion who had used S.S.R.I’s for at least 2 months without a remission of depression. None of the patients in the study exercised. This group was then divided into two groups, one began a gentle aerobic exercise routine, the second group followed a more vigorous exercise program. After four months, 29.5 percent had achieved remission.
“I think that our results indicate that exercise is a very valid treatment option” for people whose depression hasn’t yielded to S.S.R.I.’s, he said. The study did not involve a control group and researchers feel more studies are needed. It is also expected that compliance with the prescribed “dose” of exercise will be a challenge.
Yet, Dr. Trivedi said that there is no reason for people with unyielding depression not to talk with their doctors about exercise as a treatment option. “Side effects are almost nonexistent,” he said, “while you get additional benefits, in terms of improvements in cardiovascular health and reductions in other disease risks.” Exercise is more cost efficient than pharmaceuticals and a natural wellness booster. (NY Times, Well)
Marnie Blount-Gowan, Editor