Determining the Effect of Exercise on Clinical Depression – Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
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“Millions of Americans suffer from clinical depression each year. Most depressed patients first seek treatment from their primary care providers. Generally, depressed patients treated in primary care settings receive pharmacologic therapy alone. There is evidence to suggest that the addition of cognitive-behavioral therapies, specifically exercise, can improve treatment outcomes for many patients. Exercise is a behavioral intervention that has shown great promise in alleviating symptoms of depression. The current review discusses the growing body of research examining the exercise-depression relationship that supports the efficacy of exercise as an adjunct treatment. Databases searched were Medline, PsycLit, PubMed, and SportsDiscus from the years 1996 through 2003. Terms used in the search were clinical depression, depression, exercise, and physical activity. Further, because primary care physicians deliver important mental health services to the majority of depressed patients, several specific recommendations are made regarding counseling these patients on the adoption and maintenance of exercise programs.
Depression affects roughly 9.5% of the U.S. adult population each year, and it is estimated that approximately 17% of the U.S. population will suffer from a major depressive episode at some point in their lifetime. Depression has been ranked as the leading cause of disability in the United States, with over $40 billion being spent each year on lost work productivity and medical treatment related to this illness. Recent research suggests that between the years of 1987 and 1997, the rate of outpatient treatment for depression in the United States tripled and that health care costs related to this disorder continue to rise.”
Meta-analysis of studies done on exercise as a treatment for depression showing that, while more research is needed, there is evidence exercise can help.
- The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed
- The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
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