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Depression and Exercise

Posted Dec 22 2010 4:15pm

Today we will be highlighting the research of Klein Buendel, Inc. Senior Scientist Andrea L. Dunn, Ph.D. Dr. Dunn primarily focuses on physical activity interventions and how they can be used to treat depression and prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Dr. Dunn is currently working on a pilot study that may produce important research findings on how to adapt exercise treatment for depression among adolescents. The Depression Outcomes Study of Exercise (DOSE) is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health funded (R34MH082153) and is a randomized controlled trial, a type of scientific experiment often used in testing effectiveness of healthcare services.

Adolescent depression is a major public health problem. Major depressive disorder (MDD) is common in adolescence. It is estimated that by the time adolescents reach the age of 17, 14 % will have experienced at least one episode of major depressive disorder. Even adolescents who have symptoms have significant functional impairments so early treatment is important.

The outcome of this pilot study may be an important first step to use of exercise in the treatment of adolescent depression. This is important because current evidence-based treatments include SSRI medication and/or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). When depression is untreated a teen can have serious problems that include suicide, substance abuse, cigarette smoking, teen pregnancy, impaired psychosocial functioning and school failure.I didn’t understand this last sentence so I deleted it.

Dr. Dunn stresses that getting treatment for depression is incredibly important. If left untreated, depression can lead to

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Substance abuse
  • Anxiety
  • Heart disease and other medical conditions
  • Work or school problems
  • Family conflicts
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Social isolation
  • Suicide

Depression is a serious public health concern that should not be taken lightly. Depression impacts the daily life of individuals who suffer from it and also has an impact on surrounding friends and family. For more information on the warning signs of depression and what to look for if you think someone you love may be depressed, click here.

Check back tomorrow for an extensive list of resources on depression.

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