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Exercise can substitute effectively as second 'medication' for people with depression
Date:8/23/2011

DALLAS Aug. 24, 2011 Exercise can be as effective as a second medication for as many as half of depressed patients whose condition have not been cured by a single antidepressant medication.

UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists involved in the investigation, recently published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, found that both moderate and intense levels of daily exercise can work as well as administering a second antidepressant drug, which is often used when initial medications don't move patients to remission. The type of exercise needed, however, depends on the characteristics of patients, including their gender.

These findings are the result of a four-year study conducted by UT Southwestern's psychiatry department in conjunction with the Cooper Institute in Dallas. The National Institute of Mental Health-funded study, begun in 2003, is one of the first controlled investigations in the U.S. to suggest that adding a regular exercise routine, combined with targeted medications, actually can relieve fully the symptoms of major depressive disorder.

"Many people who start on an antidepressant medication feel better after they begin treatment, but they still don't feel completely well or as good as they did before they became depressed," said Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, professor of psychiatry and the study's lead author. "This study shows that exercise can be as effective as adding another medication. Many people would rather use exercise than add another drug, particularly as exercise has a proven positive effect on a person's overall health and well-being."

Study participants diagnosed with depression, who ranged in age from 18 to 70 and who had not remitted with treatment using a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressant medication, were divided into two groups. Each group received a different level of exercise intensity for 12 weeks. Sessions were supervised by trained staff at the Cooper Institute and augme
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Contact: LaKisha Ladson
lakisha.ladson@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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