Depression is one of those illnesses that can be helped in a large part by starting an exercise program. Exercise as any seasoned runner knows will increase endorphin levels and the idea of a runners high is very much something that can help a person. Add the regulating of hormones that happens as you get in better shape and you have a great prescription to a better attitude and a cure to some peoples depression
The number of doctors prescribing exercise for people with mild to moderate depression has increased significantly in the past three years.
According to the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) 22 per cent of GPs now prescribe exercise therapy as one of their three most common treatments for depression.
This compares to just five per cent who did so three years ago.
GPs’ beliefs about exercise therapy have also changed since 2005, a survey by the charity revealed.
Over six in ten GPs now think that a supervised programme of exercise is ‘very effective’ or ‘quite effective’ in treating mild to moderate depression, compared to just over four in ten three years ago.
Two thirds of the 200 GPs polled who currently do not have access to an exercise referral scheme say they would use one if it were available.
The MHF described the survey’s findings as “excellent news” but warned that exercise on prescription is still not widely available.
Less than half of GPs are able to access an exercise therapy referral scheme for people with depression.
“There is a real need for increased availability of exercise on prescription so that it is accessible alongside antidepressant medication and psychological therapies,” said MHF chief executive Andrew McCulloch.
“Depression is a complex illness – it is important that GPs have a range of treatments to offer and that people with depression have a choice.”
The MHF is working in six sites in areas that offer exercise referral schemes to identify the barriers preventing the schemes from being offered universally.
Tags: endorphin levels , hormones , mental health foundation , mhf , moderate depression , treatments for depression