Study finds exercise outperforms the antidepressant Zoloft
(NaturalHealth365) Antidepressant drugs and SSRIs have been criticized for their dangerous side effects for years now. From sexual side effects to actually leading to thoughts of suicide, the side effects of Zoloft and other antidepressant drugs in many cases do more harm than good.
Another study has also shown that exercise actually outperforms antidepressant drugs as a treatment for depression. The study revealed that exercise can both treat clinical depression and keep it from returning.
Duke University Medical Center scientists tested Zoloft and exercise against one another and ultimately found that both could reduce or eliminate depression symptoms at around the same rate. However, exercise was found to keep depression symptoms from returning much more effectively.
Warning: Do you know the long list of negative side effects of Zoloft?
The list of side effects of Zoloft is alarmingly long. The most common are nausea, loose stool, diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting and dyspepsia. Other side effects of Zoloft include headache, paresthesia, insomnia, anorexia, diaphoresis, decreased libido and other sexual side effects. People have also reported dizziness, tremor, fatigue, drowsiness, anxiety, agitation, malaise and pain. The most disturbing side effect of Zoloft is suicidal ideation.
Those in the Duke study had major depressive disorder that was characterized by feelings of worthlessness, guilt and loss of pleasure in life for two weeks or more. Their symptoms ranged from mild to moderate to severe.
After four months, around 60% of those who exercised either no longer had depression symptoms or had vastly improved. By contrast, 66 percent of those taking Zoloft had improved, and 69 percent of those using a combination of both improved.
Fact: Regular exercise will lower your risk of depression over time
However, one noteworthy element was that those who exercised regularly were far less likely to have depression return again. Just 8 percent of exercisers had a relapse, while 38 percent of those taking Zoloft became depressed again. Thirty-one percent of those both taking the drug and exercising experienced depression again.
Even a modest exercise program can make a robust difference in mental health. The study window was four months long and the exercise program was comprised of 30 minutes of brisk walking, jogging or stationary bike riding three times per week. Exercise was preceded by a 10-minute warm up and followed by a 5-minute cool down.
Why does exercise work so well for those combating depression? Researchers believe it’s possible that those who exercised felt a sense of taking control of their lives and their recovery, while those taking a pill did not. Depression is often characterized by a feeling of helplessness, while engaging in physical activity is often uplifting and empowering.
Interestingly, while taking the drug did help people, a combination therapy of both drugs and exercise did not work better than either on its own.
Great news: Exercise is a natural pain reliever and mood enhancer
Another reason for the health and depression-lifting benefits of exercise seems to be linked with the release of mood-enhancing endorphins, the body’s natural pain reliever and mood enhancer. While antidepressants like Zoloft are believed to regulate the brain chemical serotonin, exercise boosts these levels as well.
With so many health effects, everyone should be exercising a minimum of 30 minutes three times per week. The benefits to both physical and mental health are clearly profound. Just one quick tip (about exercise), keep it comfortable and enjoy the process.