Navigation Links
Therapeutic lifestyle changes as useful as drugs in improving mental health
Date:2/22/2011

Irvine, Calif., Feb. 22, 2011 Getting more exercise, spending time outdoors and helping others are among the activities that can be as effective as drugs or counseling in treating an array of mental illnesses, including depression and anxiety, according to a UC Irvine study.

In determining this, Dr. Roger Walsh, professor of psychiatry & human behavior, philosophy and anthropology, as well as adjunct professor of religious studies, reviewed research on the effects of what he calls "therapeutic lifestyle changes." Other TLCs might relate to nutrition, relationships, recreation, relaxation, and religious or spiritual involvement.

"I found that lifestyle changes can offer significant advantages for patients, therapists and societies, yet they're insufficiently appreciated, taught or utilized," Walsh said. "TLCs can be effective, inexpensive and enjoyable, with fewer side effects and complications than medications. In the 21st century, therapeutic lifestyles may need to be a central focus of mental, medical and public health."

Study results appear online in American Psychologist, the flagship journal of the American Psychological Association. Among Walsh's findings:

  • Exercise doesn't just boost people's sense of well-being. It can help children do better in school, improve cognitive performance in adults, reduce age-related memory loss in the elderly, and increase neuron formation in the brain.

  • Diets with plenty of fruits, vegetables and fish may enhance kids' school performance, help maintain cognitive function in adults, and reduce symptoms in schizophrenic and affective disorders.

  • Spending time in nature can promote cognitive function and overall well-being.

  • Good relationships can reduce health risks ranging from the common cold to strokes, as well as multiple mental illnesses, and can dramatically improve psychological health.

  • Recreation and fun can lessen defensiveness and foster social skills.

  • Relaxation and stress management can treat a variety of anxiety, insomnia and panic disorders.

  • Meditation can enhance empathy and emotional stability; decrease stress and burnout; and boost cognitive function and even brain size.

  • Religious or spiritual involvement that focuses on love and forgiveness can promote well-being and reduce anxiety, depression and substance abuse.

  • Contribution and service, or altruism, can foster joy and generosity, benefit both physical and mental health, and perhaps even extend lifespan. A major exception, Walsh noted, is "caretaker burnout experienced by overwhelmed family members caring for a demented spouse or parent."

Obstacles to TLCs, he said, are the sustained effort they require and "a passive expectation that healing comes from an outside authority or a pill." Walsh also observed that people contend with a daily barrage of psychologically sophisticated advertisements that promote unhealthy lifestyle behaviors such as smoking, drinking alcohol and eating fast food.

"You can never get enough of what you don't really need, but you can certainly ruin your life and health trying," he added.


'/>"/>

Contact: Tom Vasich
tmvasich@uci.edu
949-824-6455
University of California - Irvine
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Mayo Clinic researchers confirm value of therapeutic hypothermia after cardiac arrest
2. Study compares balanced propofol sedation with conventional sedation for therapeutic GI endoscopic procedures
3. Save messengers -- modified mRNAs open up new therapeutic possibilities
4. Transplanted human placenta-derived stem cells show therapeutic potential in stroke models
5. Optimizing patient outcomes after therapeutic hypothermia for traumatic brain injury
6. Does Club Drug Ecstasy Have Therapeutic Value?
7. Autism Consortium 2010 Symposium: New therapeutics focus, family resource guide announced
8. Onconova Therapeutics presents new data demonstrating radioprotection by Ex-RAD at RRS annual meeting
9. Moffitt Cancer Center and GLG Pharma LLC sign licensing agreement to develop the next generation of targeted anti-cancer therapeutics
10. Moffitt Cancer Center and GLG Pharma, LLC sign licensing agreement to develop the next generation of targeted anti-cancer therapeutics
11. TGen finds therapeutic targets for rare cancer in children
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... "FCPX editors can now reveal their ... Cut Pro X," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ... Pro X users can now reveal the media of their split screens with ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... , ... June 27, 2016 , ... Quality metrics are ... in many ways they remain in the eye of the beholder, according to experts ... publication of The American Journal of Managed Care. For the full issue, click ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Orion, Clarkston, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 26, ... ... with respect to fertility once they have been diagnosed with endometriosis. These women ... intercourse but they also require a comprehensive approach that can help for preservation ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... TX (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... the United States, named Dr. Sesan Ogunleye, as the Medical Director of its new ... the facility Medical Director of our new Mesquite location,” said Dr. James M. Muzzarelli, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... A recent article published June 14 on E Online details ... to state that individuals are now more comfortable seeking to undergo not only the ... and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area medical group, Beverly Hills Physicians (BHP) notes ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016 Dublin ... addition of the " Global Markets for Spectroscopy ... This report focuses on the ... review, including its applications in various applications. The report ... includes three main industries: pharmaceutical and biotechnology, food and ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... and SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. , June 24, 2016 ... mobile pulmonary function testing company, is now able to perform sophisticated ... by ndd Medical Technologies , Inc. Patients ... hospital-based labs.  Thanks to ndd,s EasyOne PRO ® , ARL patients ... get any needed testing done in the comfort of her own ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... NAMUR , Belgium , ...  (NYSE MKT: VNRX), today announced the appointment of ... Board of Directors as a Non-Executive Director, effective ... the Company,s Audit, Compensation and Nominations and Governance ... Board, Dr. Futcher will provide independent expertise and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: