It has long since been suggested that a combination of traditional treatment and exercise could improve recovery in depressed patients, however recent research has unveiled this could be untrue.
The study in question has been published in the British Medical Journal, and involved a number of patients receiving help to boost their levels of physical activity in addition to undertaking conventional treatment such as taking a course of anti-depressants or receiving counselling. The second group only received the ‘traditional’ medication.
After one year, it was found that whilst all of the patients exhibited fewer signs of depression, there was no difference between the group who received traditional treatment and the group who received traditional treatment plus physical activity help.
As it stands, current NICE guidelines recommended that individuals suffering from depression participate in up to three exercise sessions each week, but this advice which was first established in 2004 may now be outdated.
However, with that said one study is not enough to dispel years of research and prevailing medical opinion – and whilst these new results do raise some questions, they do not mean that exercise is not important or that it won’t be of benefit to everyone.
According to Professor John Campbell from the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, exercise and activity do offer promise as treatments for individuals who would prefer not to take traditional anti-depressant medication, but do not appear to be effective in treating people with severe depression.
“That buzz we all get from moderate intensity of exercise is certainly acknowledged but it’s not sustained and it’s not appropriate for treating people with depression.” He said.
As it stands, the NHS can opt to refer patients for a course of supervised exercise sessions as part of treatment for a variety of illnesses, including depression.
Depression is a very complex and often deep routed issue, which is why counselling and other forms of talk therapy are always recommended. Whilst some individuals may require a course of anti-depressant medication, this is not a long-term solution whereas uncovering why you feel the way you feel and helping you to understand your thoughts, feelings and mood may allow you to eventually move forward.