There seems to be substantial data showing that the most effective treatment for depression isn’t drugs. Now, I’m not advocating that you go off of your medications. I am not a doctor. I am, however, urging you to do your research, talk to your medical professional and then make your decision. In my Seattle hypnosis and Bainbridge Island hypnosis offices over the years I have observed that exercise and also hypnosis can have a major role in alleviating depression.
What the Research Says about Alternative Treatments for Depression
One study conducted by Duke University in the late 1990’s divided depressed patients into three treatment groups:
1. Exercise only
2. Exercise plus antidepressant
3. Antidepressant drug only
After six weeks, the drug-only group was doing slightly better than the other two groups. However, after 10 months of follow-up, it was the exercise-only group that had the highest remission and stay-well rate.
Some countries are taking these types of research findings seriously, and are starting to base their treatments on the evidence at hand.
The UK, for example, does not routinely recommend antidepressants as the first line of therapy for mild to moderate depression anymore, and doctors there can write out a prescription to see an exercise counselor instead.
“With that prescription… you now get either a reduced rate or a free rate at a gym for six months,” Whitaker explains. “Part of the exercise might be “green gyms”… gardening outside, nature walks, repairing trails, hiking trails. And they are finding that people really like this. People comply with it…
People who have gone through this course and have been prescribed exercise, they say that rather than seeing themselves as a victim of depression, and helpless before it — that they have this sort of biological problem they can’t do anything about — they say, “Aha, I can make a change, I can do something. It’s in my willpower to do something that will help this problem lift.”
So it empowers the patient in a different way that drugs do not.”
Since 2007, when this new program was first introduced, the rate of British doctors prescribing exercise for depression has increased from about 4 percent to about 25 percent.
Studies on exercise as a treatment for depression are also showing that there is a strong correlation between improved mood and aerobic capacity. So there’s a growing acceptance that the mind-body connection is very real, and that maintaining good physical health can significantly lower your risk of developing depression in the first place. Read The MOST Effective Treatment for Depression Isn’t Drugs… But You’ll Never Hear That From Your Psychiatrist.
You can use hypnosis for motivation for exercise and you can also use hypnosis to help you overcome depression.
Make sure that you consult with your physician before altering or stop taking anti-depressants.
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