Republished from www.drtimdoty.com
The Atlantic Study of the Day for July 10, 2012 summarizes an article that was published in the
British Medical Journal: “Facilitated Physical Activity as a Treatment for Depressed Adults: Randomised Controlled Trial.”
The Atlantic’s article title, summary, and conclusions are misleading. The Atlantic reports that the study either provided medical treatment (i.e. pharmacological prescription) plus encouragement to exercise, or encouragement to exercise ONLY. The group that took part in exercise ONLY, were not much better off at the end of the study as it pertains to depression. Nowhere in the study was any form of talk therapy or counseling included. Also, as a measure of depression, the Beck Depression Inventory is a useful clinical tool, but perhaps not sensitive enough to pick up on nuanced changes in one’s depression from time to time.
My advice…if you are struggling with depression, the best course of action is to seek out talk therapy with a trusted therapist and increase activities that allow our bodies’ neurochemicals to become more balanced: such as, regular exercise, good sleep hygiene, and well-balanced diet. Included in talk therapy, I think it is helpful for individuals struggling with depression to take a look at their broader social connections and increase relational satisfaction. So, in conclusion, I am not terribly surprised that exercise ALONE did not cure depression, but exercise in combination with an individualized, guided approach to treatment is healthy and helpful.