Friday, February 16, 2007

Other methods of treatment

Light therapy

Bright light (both sunlight and artificial light) is shown to be effective in seasonal affective disorder, and sometimes may be effective in other types of depression, especially atypical depression or depression with "seasonal phenotype" (overeating, oversleeping, weight gain, apathy).


It is widely believed that physical activity and exercise help depressed patients and promote quicker and better relief from depression. They are also thought to help antidepressants and psychotherapy work better and faster. It can be difficult to find the motivation to exercise if the depression is severe, but sufferers should be encouraged to take part in some form of regularly scheduled physical activity. A workout need not be strenuous; many find walking, for example, to be of great help. Exercise produces higher levels of chemicals in the brain, notably dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. In general this leads to improvements in mood, which is effective in countering depression.[22]


Meditation is increasingly seen as a useful treatment for some cases of depression.[23] The current professional opinion on meditation is that it represents at least a complementary method of treating depression, a view that has been endorsed by the Mayo Clinic.[24] Since the late 1990s, much research has been carried out to determine how meditation affects the brain (see the main article on meditation). Although the effects on the mind are complex, they are often quite positive, encouraging a calm, reflective, and rational state of mind that can be of great help against depression.[citation needed] Although many religions include meditative practice, it is not necessary to be a member of any faith to meditate.