Robert Whitaker makes it very clear in this segment of the interview with Dr. Mercola that exercise has proven to be more effective–and to a greater degree–at fighting depression than anti depressants.
I’d like to say, right away, that this pertains only to mild to moderate depression.
For severe cases, meds are more than likely going to be critically necessary. At least in the short term.
Very few were exercising as hard as I was before my mind detonated.
I was going downhill like a freight train with no brakes, powered by bipolar, and exercising like a demon at the same time, right before my crash.
So, does this mean that I’m talking out both sides of my face?
No. Here’s why:
What I learned, through harsh and brutal personal experience was that there were many variables that needed to be addressed, before exercise could be reasonably added to the program.
When I was crashing, exercise was the ONLY good thing I was doing for myself, and it proved to not be up to the task of beating bipolar disorder by itself.
Add in proper nutrition, specific nutrients, and meditation…
and THEN exercise had a chance to assist!
Exercise will always help.
But to what degree will depend on whether or not you have the rest of your wellness ducks in a row, not to mention the severity of your illness.
Some of you are just a hair off center and some regular exercise will be just the thing you need.
The rest of us will need to gird out loins and do battle on a more extensive level than exercise alone.
Listen to this clip and see where you might land on that spectrum.
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- Medical Journalist
- Nominee for Pulitzer Prize
- Medical Reporter for Albany Times Union
- Director of Publications for Harvard Medical School
- Series about Psychiatry that he wrote for the Boston Globe was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
- Author of many books addressing this material
Dr. Mercola Interview Content
- Ross Baldessarini: Are these drugs depressogenic?
- Donald Klein, Columbia University: No one is interested in this question. Stop asking.
- But in real life, pros everywhere seeing proof that this may be true and they DO want answers
- Giovanni Fava responds to Klein: Maybe YOU’RE not interested and maybe the pharmacological industry has there teeth into you, but the rest of us are interested and we’re studying it
- Pros everywhere finding that long term anti depressant use has a negative gain
- Later 90s, Duke University study: 3 groups: 1. exercise only 2. exercise and drugs 3. drugs only
- After 6 weeks, drugs only group doing a tiny bit better than other two
- 10 months later. exercise only group doing FAR better than other two, thing that drugs only harm in the long term
- Britain has an advisory group to the National Health Service called NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence)
- NICE released 2006 paper: at least for mild to moderate depression, anti depressants should not be the first line of therapy
- Program based on this allows British General Practitioners to write prescription for exercise
- Patient meets with exercise counselor who develops program usually for gym
- Gyms found to be best because they add social component which helps alleviate depression
- Patients get access for free or at reduced rate for 6 months
- Some gyms are “green” where outside work is done instead of regular exercises
- They found people really like this approach and stay in compliance easier than they can with drugs
- People feel empowered, instead of victimized. They have a certain amount of control over their destiny rather than have life dictated to them by whys of depression.
- This program started in 2007 and went from 4% GP participation to 25% pretty quick
- Because Britain has a national health program, they want to curb drug spending, as its proving to be an inefficient approach
- Pharma can’t sway them as easily so program has hope of growing
- Dr. Mercola found that eating less processed foods, less bad fats, and more good fats, like Omega 3s, increases wellness all around
- Robert’s research has proven to him that depression is a mind/body illness
- Depression takes root easier in those who are already unhealthy
- Exercise studies show that increased aerobic capacity directly correlates to increased good mood
- So, good physical health can lower your risk of becoming depressed in the first place!
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