Exercise now prescribed before antidepressants among a significant minority of docs in Britain

Hopefully this trend will continue and it would be nice to know if it’s happening here as well. Every little bit helps. Just imagine how many people can be saved from being diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a result of using antidepressants it they simply stop being used!

From the The Gaurdian:

Antidepressants are not only expensive; according to the clinical standards watchdog National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), they are for many people no more helpful than a placebo, and should not be used as a first recourse for mild to moderate depression. Yet at the last count, 31 million prescriptions for antidepressants were dispensed in the UK in just one year.

Four years ago the Mental Health Foundation asked GPs if they would consider prescribing exercise – which sound evidence shows is an effective treatment for low mood – instead of antidepressants. Only 5% said they would. Yet 78% admitted they had prescribed an antidepressant even though they felt an alternative would have been more appropriate, while two thirds had done so because they did not think there was a suitable alternative.

Since then the Foundation has been working with GPs to promote awareness of the benefits of exercise for depression. In a follow-up survey, released this month, the proportion of those now willing to prescribe it has risen to 22 %, reflecting a clear shift in attitudes and beliefs.

Such practices are all part of an alternative, holistic approach to mental health that recognises that exercise, education, leisure and creative activities can boost mental health and wellbeing. (emphasis mine—read the rest here)

I might add exercise is good for just about all mental distress whether it’s depression as stated here, mania, anxiety, schizophrenia or anything else. Exercise, diet and practices such as meditation can be key factors in getting mentally healthy for anyone regardless of diagnosis.

6 thoughts on “Exercise now prescribed before antidepressants among a significant minority of docs in Britain

  1. I remember when I was going off the effexsor, and my psychologist informed me that out off ALL his years in practise he’d never seen anyone have such a hard time. He then informed me, by asking a question….. Do you know what helps “people like you”? My husband was with me at the time, and we both said simultaneosly “diet and exercise”. He said NO!! MORE antidepressants. That was it for him, that’s why I go to my primary care physician! Not the greatest because of time restrait, but far better than that cretin.

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  2. “78% admitted they had prescribed an antidepressant even though they felt an alternative would have been more appropriate.”

    Says it all for me. Worth repeating. Thanks for the post.

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