Depression: drugs, psychotherapy, or physical activity?

Depression, such an intriguing and puzzling subject since there are drugs that increase serotonin and some other drugs that decrease serotonin, both of which help patients feel better.  Not being able to do things due to loss of pleasure or life energy is something we all deal with during distressing times.  Being able to come back to “ourselves” and be happy or enjoy life again is what the center of the issue is; but people that have used antidepressants have said that these drugs put them in a “neutral state” per se, where they don’t feel that much sadness or excitement.  Then is that really solving the problem?  Do we, as a society, rather be walking around in a neutral state than expressing our emotions of sadness or happiness, which is part of what makes as humans?  Are we really allowing artificial intelligence express human emotions more than what we, humans, are expressing?

Since drugs are changing our chemistry, what about just using our resources, as people, to help us recover?  Psychotherapy is a great resource.  From personal experience, psychotherapy has greatly helped me in understanding my past, my present, and my future.  This has allowed me to see the world with “different eyes” and has provided me with tools to use in the future to overcome traumatic events.

Below is a video about: Evidence-Based Psychotherapy Treatment Planning for Depression

Also R-MC Professor’s Lambert’s book on Lifting Depression: A Neuroscientist’s Hands-On Approach to Activating Your Brain’s Healing Power is a remarkable resource to better understand this topic.

The book’s description mentions that: “Today’s young adults are up to ten times more likely to experience depression than their grandparents were. Could it be that in our increasingly automated world, the reduced physical effort needed to accomplish anything may somehow interfere with our level of happiness and subsequent responses to stress? Neuroscientist Kelly Lambert finds compelling evidence that having to work hard for rewards significantly improves mood and prevents depression… Whereas most therapies emphasize the importance of mental activity, Lambert reminds us of the importance of physical activity in establishing control in a fast-paced culture that is focused more on the prospect of immediate gratification than savoring the fruits of our labor.”


2 Responses to “Depression: drugs, psychotherapy, or physical activity?”

  1. 1 danielledheron May 9, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    I could identify a great deal with this! I personally am a strong believer in refraining from the use of medicines and drugs as much as possible. Many people actually find this shocking since I am currently applying to schools to be a Physician’s Assistant, and have held many internships in the medical field (which these days seems to be based around diagnosis and prescribing). I just strongly believe that every individual should use all their possible resources and do everything in their power before resorting to taking medications.

  2. 2 ksdavis04 May 16, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    One thing that I think people should realize about dealing with clinical and other forms of depression, is that at times a depressed person can feel completely hopeless and helpless. They tend to look for anything that will help alleviate the symptoms of their depression. So when nothing helps, they feel as if they have to resort to medicine or else they really have no idea how to keep themselves from feeling so horrible.
    I understand that it seems pointless to take medicine when it only makes you feel neutral rather than making you feel better. But for some people they would take feeling neutral over feeling like complete crap any day.
    I respect anyone who feels that taking drugs for depression isn’t the right way to go. But I think that taking a pill is better than losing a depressed person to suicide because they felt like they had no way out.

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