Depression has been presented as the disease of the 21st century. It is already the main reason for work stoppages in many countries of the Western world. It seems obvious that this is also related to the high level of stress we all face on a daily basis.
The question I ask today is to invite you to think about the best strategy to overcome an emotional crisis: Prozac or… Adidas?
This question is the title of a chapter in Schreiber’s book “Emotional Healing”. In this book, the author wants to shed light on the most effective ways to treat depression.
Interesting information to consider: a new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, found that 69% of people taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the main type of antidepressant, have never suffered from a major depressive disorder.
What is the origin of this drug “overuse”?
- People looking for quick and effective solutions who think that taking an antidepressant will solve everything in their lives.
- The increased prescription of antidepressants by doctors in health centres. Indeed, there is a growing shortage of psychologists and psychiatrists to treat these cases.
The difficulty of organizing rapid consultations in medical centres, so that cases of depression are not sufficiently followed up.
In this article, we will focus on this question: cure with medication and/or cure with sport?
Have you ever thought of sport as not only a way to relieve your discomfort, but also as an effective remedy?
There is evidence that sports can reduce some of the effects of depressed mood in men, help control weight, increase libido, improve sleep and blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, protect against heart disease and even prevent the onset of certain types of cancer.
It is undeniable that drug treatment is necessary in many cases. For example, when the patient ceases virtually all activities of daily living and has suicidal tendencies. Medication can also be useful in the short and medium-term, to get through a difficult period. But in the long term, they do not seem to be more effective than other non-medical treatments.
In view of these findings, medical treatment for depression should only be offered when there is an emergency; such as those mentioned above. On the other hand, psychological help and the search for a combined treatment should systematically be offered in parallel.
Although a person is alone in deciding what treatment to follow, you should be aware that sport can help you in various situations of psychological distress.
Symptoms have been shown to improve in people suffering from mild depression, mood disorders such as premenstrual syndrome, anxiety, fear or stress.
The benefits of choosing sport over medication first
- Prolonged physical exertion reduces negative thoughts, which is the main characteristic of depression.
- After thirty minutes of sustained effort, you enter a state in which thoughts are spontaneously creative or positive. People become less focused on themselves and are guided by the rhythm of their efforts.
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the famous researcher on the notion of “flow” states that what keeps this state functioning well is to push our efforts to the limit but not beyond.
You don’t have to be young to enjoy the benefits of exercise. Depressed people between the ages of 50 and 67 who walk at least 30 minutes a day can already achieve a very interesting therapeutic effect.
Exercise has a positive impact on the emotional brain and the production of endorphins. In comparison, opium, morphine, and heroin provide an immediate feeling of well-being, also thanks to endorphins, but with very unpleasant and harmful side effects. Moreover, it is now known that when the emotional brain is stimulated, the immune system is also stimulated to function.
In order for physical exercise to produce these therapeutic effects, it is necessary that :
- it must be regular
- it is not necessary to overdo it
- the effort must be sustained
The sporting activity starts slowly and then lets the body dictate the pace; try to reach your limit, but don’t go beyond it.
Group exercises are even more effective! Know that!
If you experience a period of mild depression, try not to take medication immediately.
Instead, get professional help instead.
-Nuno from Evolution