Exercise addition is an effective strategy when treatment with antidepressants is not satisfactory enough. Three times a week 50 minutes walking is enough.
Seventeen patients with incomplete remission of depressive symptoms began a 12-week exercise program while continuing their antidepressant medication (unchanged in type or dose). The severity of the depression diminished significantly with 5.8 points on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and 13.9 points on the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-Self-Report.
This lower-cost addition strategy has also numerous other health benefits:
1. cardiovascular benefits
2. improves executive functioning in the elderly (neurocognitive functioning)
3. protection from brain insults and disease
4. reduces the risk for dementia.
With treatment resistant depression there are several strategies to follow. An important one especially with partial recovery on an antidepressant is an addition strategy. The most common addition strategies are the addition of lithium or thyroid supplementation. Disadvantages of these strategies are: side-effects increase withe number of medications used, complexity of use and monitoring.
Patients included were on an antidepressant for at least 6 weeks with adequate dosage. Age between 20-45 years and physically inactive (exercising< 3 times a week and < 20 minutes each time).
The 12-week intervention consisted of both supervised and home based exercise sessions. In the lab patients could use a treadmills or stationary cycles or a combination of both. At home participants could use a treadmill, stationery cycles, a combination of both, or overground walking. Intensity of the exercise was self selected and held constant during a session but be changed between sessions according to the preference of the patient. The exercise energy expenditure was 16 kcal/kg/wk, a public health dose. Participants were allowed to choose frequency between 3-5 times a week.
Participants mostly walked as form of exercise. On a treadmill or overground walking on average of 50 minutes three times a week.
Limitations of the study:
1. not randomized
2. lack of placebo group
3. small sample size
4. low completion rate (47%)
5. selected patient group young of age (39 years)
J Psychiatr Pract. 2006 Jul;12(4):205-13.
Exercise as an augmentation strategy for treatment of major depression.
Trivedi MH, Greer TL, Grannemann BD, Chambliss HO, Jordan AN.
Related posts on this blog:
5 features of pseudo treatment resistant depression
Treatment Resistant Depression and Genes