Fall 2016 Edition
Research: Talk Therapy and Exercise are Effective Treatments For Depression
Several recent studies have reported that talk therapy and exercise are effective treatments for depression.
A study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry reported that cognitive behavioral therapy – a type of talk therapy that involves changing a person's negative thought patterns – can be as effective as antidepressant drugs for treating those with moderate to severe depression. The study concluded that "there are clearly at least two options for patients who are suffering from moderate to severe depression," cognitive therapy and antidepressant medication.
Numerous studies have concluded that exercise can also be an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression. In a review of psychological research, the American Psychological Association concluded that regular exercise is a viable and cost-effective treatment for mild to moderate depression and may be useful in the comprehensive treatment of more severe episodes of depressive illness. A study at Duke University Medical Center found that middle-aged people who suffered from depression gained as much benefit from 30 minutes of walking three times a week as a comparison group did from an antidepressant medication.
Over 8% of adult Americans – some 18 million people – suffer from depression at any given moment. If you are concerned that you or a family member may suffer from depression, the most important thing to do is seek professional help. An appropriate diagnosis must precede any effective treatment. Without treatment, symptoms often get worse, and can last for weeks, months or even years. The good news is that depression is increasingly treatable. More than 85% of people with serious depression can be treated successfully with antidepressant medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of both.
What To Do
1. Contact your EAP – If you or a dependent suffers from depression, begin by contacting your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for confidential counseling, referrals and/or information. EAP counselors are specially trained to help people get the right kind of help for depression.
2. Start treatment early – Don't believe in the myth that you should be able to "handle" depression on your own. Because it takes several weeks for treatment to begin to work, it is important to get treatment early, before your depression gets worse.