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Depressed? Don’t take drugs, just exercise

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Depressed? Don’t take drugs, just exercise

You don’t need to treat depression with drugs. Exercise, massage and touch all work better, especially for patients who are already suffering from dementia.

Doctors should be looking more to these non-drug therapies for depression and loneliness because they work as well, if not better, than antidepressants.

Researchers from the Cochrane Collaboration concluded that exercise, massage, touch therapy and social interaction all helped patients overcome depression and feelings of isolation and loneliness, and they were more effective than drugs.

They took another look at 256 studies that had included 28,483 people with dementia and discovered that drugs were no better than standard care, and fared worse when they were matched against other, more proactive therapies.

Of the 50 million people around the world diagnosed with dementia, around 16 percent are diagnosed with major depression and 32 percent will have symptoms of depression without being clinically diagnosed.

(Source: BMJ, 2021; n352)

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