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Unread August 3rd, 2008, 10:03 AM
sk8rgrl23 sk8rgrl23 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 53
Default Re: Mental Health benefits of exercise?

I think there is a fair amount of information out there on the role of exercise in treating depression. I think unfortunately we live in a "I want it now and not have to work for it" culture and also with the mayhem of advertising by pharmaceutical companies we have fostered a societal addiction to prescription drugs.

As far as exercise, I'm a firm believer myself. i try to do something every day, but for me it has to be something fun, where I'm learning something new, not just going to the gym and having a machine move my limbs around. Personally I like figure skating and skateboarding because not only does it get me moving and release those endorphins but for that time I'm doing that it takes me completely away from every day life, as while I'm doing that I'm thinking about nothign else but that exact thing. There is no feeling like doing a spin on ice or on a skateboard sailing down a ramp and curving around the banks, both feel like flight to me. But I also get some benefits from riding my bike or walking, just that topsy-turvey thrill factor isn't there. but nonetheless I think anything that gets your heart rate going and gets you moving.

I have strong feelings about how we diagnose and subsequently medicate clients. between the immediate gratification factor and the pressure from pharmaceuticals (everywhere you go in the health care field you see clocks, stickie notepads, pens, rollodexes, all with insignias of various medications). Too many doctores and clients have a knee-jerk reaction to depression, or more accurately, a depressed mood or stressful situation. I can't tell you how many clients have come into my office reporting that they had a death in the family, or trouble at work and now they feel their medication isn't working because they find themselves upset/anxious/angry/depressed. To which I am inclined to say a big resounding "SO WHAT?" When did it become unacceptable to feel an unpleasant emotion?!?!?!?

And then there's the question of addiction in terms of do people develop tolerance to antidepressants? How many clients have you seen get into a continual cycle of having to have their meds "adjusted" which most often means the dosage is increased or they are put on a stronger antidepressant. We talk so much about the problem of tolerance in chemical dependency circles, the concept of always needing more to get the same effect, but nobody talks about this with legally sanctioned pharmaceuticals, doctors just unquestioningly prescribe the next higher dose, or put their patients on stronger drugs. What's the problem with this? side effects. people gain weight, people have insomnia or sleep too much or lose motivation, all things that contribute to depression in themselves. so how much good are we doing people when we allow lay people to just take the next bigger pill?

And diet is also grossly overlooked. How many depressed people find themselves grazing on highly processed high glycemic foods that keep them in a chronic subclinical state of malnutrition and then they wonder why they feel like crap? then Celexa comes to the rescue, because "depression hurts all over"

BTW, when I was in my 20's I exercised all the time, had no choice couldn';t afford a car so I had to bike or walk anywhere I wanted to go. I was also very depressed during that age, I think 20's is a hard age to be when you're trying to get started out in life, but I definitely think the exercise helped.
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