Study: Exercise Can Replace Reliance on Anti-Depressants
Study: Exercise Can Replace Reliance on Anti-Depressants Image header

A new study suggests that physical exercise is so effective at alleviating mental health symptoms that it could reduce patients’ time admitted to acute facilities and their reliance on psychotropic medications.

Psychotherapist and lead author David Tomasi said: “The general attitude of medicine is that you treat the primary problem first, and exercise was never considered to be a life or death treatment option.

“Now that we know it’s so effective, it can become as fundamental as pharmacological intervention.”

Founder of Recovering Man Richard Joy has articulated his recovery from trauma, addiction and mental health issues began with embracing running (see video below).

Practitioners at inpatient psychiatric facilities — often crowded, acute settings in which patients experience severe distress and discomfort — typically prescribe psychotropic medications first, rather than natural remedies like physical exercise, to alleviate patients’ symptoms such as anger, anxiety and depression.

In fact, Tomasi estimates that only a handful of inpatient psychiatric hospitals in the U.S. provide psychotherapist-supported gym facilities exclusively for these patients.

Instead, practitioners rely on classical psychotherapeutic and pharmacological frameworks to treat psychiatric symptoms, which they monitor to determine when a patient is ready to be discharged from the facility.

Tomasi said: “The fantastic thing about these results is that, if you’re in a psychotic state, you’re sort of limited with what you can do in terms of talk therapy or psychotherapy.

“It’s hard to receive a message through talk therapy in that state, whereas with exercise, you can use your body and not rely on emotional intelligence alone.”

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