Exercise is effective for depression

Exercise is effective for depression

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Study shows positive effects of exercise in depression

Medications (antidepressants) and psychotherapy are usually used to treat depression. But physical activities can also contribute to the therapy. Researchers have now been able to show that sport has a particularly positive effect on mood symptoms.

More and more people with mental illnesses

According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of people with depression has increased significantly worldwide in recent years. In the EU, too, more and more people suffer from mental illness, especially in older age, as experts reported. According to the national care guidelines, depression is treated with antidepressants and / or psychotherapy. But sport also helps against depression. This has been shown again in a scientific study by Italian researchers.

Sports against depression

Just a few months ago, a study by an international team of scientists was published, which concluded that one hour of exercise a week helps prevent depression.

But physical activities also help when people are already ill. In research, researchers came to the conclusion that sport works in a similar way to antidepressants.

And at the Hannover Medical School (MHH), a training program against depression was presented years ago.

Above all, older patients can also benefit. However, it has so far been unclear which depressive symptoms are particularly improved by exercise.

Italian researchers have now gained new knowledge here. Their results were published in the specialist journal "Journal of Affective Disorders".

Positive effects on mood symptoms

Depression can manifest itself in a variety of symptoms: typical symptoms include sad moodiness, lack of drive, sleep disorders, poor concentration, tiredness, irritability, slowing of the movement, lack of appetite and weight loss as well as hopelessness and the inability to participate emotionally in events in the immediate vicinity .

The researchers from Italy now showed in their study that physical activity in depression can have a positive effect on mood symptoms. However, no positive influence on the physical symptoms was found.

To come to their conclusion, the researchers analyzed data from the so-called SEEDS study, a study that compared the antidepressant effectiveness of the antidepressant sertraline and the drug plus exercise.

According to the study authors, the training was conducted three times a week in small groups and monitored by heart rate monitors.

The depressive symptoms of the 121 patients with age depression were assessed at the beginning, after four, eight, twelve and 24 weeks with the Hamilton depression scale.

Numerous affective, vegetative, anxiety and arousal factors were analyzed.

Biggest changes at the beginning and end of the study

The scientists found that compared to the study participants who only received the antidepressant, the mood symptoms of the group improved significantly with medication plus sport.

The biggest changes were observed in the first four weeks and the last twelve weeks.

The improvements mainly affected the depressive mood and psychomotor retardation - this means impairments in movement, speaking and acting.

For example, those affected have difficulties with gross and fine motor skills, with hand-eye coordination and are often overwhelmed with tasks such as personal hygiene, shopping, etc.

Complementary sports treatment

However, the authors also pointed out that only a relatively small number of subjects were considered in their study.

Still, "adding exercise to antidepressant treatment can offer significant benefits over mood symptoms of depression," the researchers conclude.

And: "Compared to standard antidepressant therapy, clinical benefits should be expected both at an early stage (in the first 4 weeks) and at a later stage (after 12 weeks)." (Ad)

Author and source information

Video: How To Deal With Depression - Tactics That Work Immediately (June 2022).