Depression Treatment Needs Spiritual Component, says Faith-based Website

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FollowMe.org: A new study that challenges the link between exercise and recovery from depression provides further evidence that effective treatment may require a spiritual component.

The true cure for depression may be spiritual, according to the faith-based website followme.org.

That assertion was made today in response to a study published last month by the British Medical Journal.

As part of its study entitled “Facilitated Physical Activity as a Treatment for depressed Adults,” a British Medical Journal team recruited patients from 65 different practices in England. The group of 361 adults, ages 18-69, began a prescribed hybrid of counseling and “facilitated physical activity,” according to a published report. Instead of taking anti-depressants during that time, the patients each took part in face-to-face workout sessions and over-the-phone conversations with a personal trainer, the report said.

After four months, the researchers checked back in with the patients. Their findings? Patients reported no improvement in mood, said the study's authors.

More time apparently did not improve the patients’ conditions either. As soon as eight months into the treatment, patients reported the return of depression symptoms, according to the study.

What does this mean for depression treatment? Pastor Jamie of followme.org argues that exercise serves as a temporary “band-aid” for the spiritual pain caused by depression. “Exercise merely takes one’s mind off the pain; it fails to cure it," he said.

The team from the British Medical Journal would seem to agree.

Contrary to more optimistic findings in this area, researchers said the BMJ study breaks ground in its sustained review of patients. They said exercise can improve one’s mood in the short-term by way of a sort-of “runner’s high.” However, this temporary mood swing does not translate into victory over the symptoms of depression, the BMJ team found.

The BMJ team concludes, “Advice and encouragement to increase physical activity is not an effective strategy for reducing symptoms of depression.” The results of this comprehensive study may leave researchers and patients alike wondering, what is a reliable treatment for depression symptoms? That, it turns out, may take a little more exercise to uncover.

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Jeff White
FollowMe.org
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