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Working Out to Manage Depression and Anxiety

Any other DLers doing it? I *just* started working out semi-regularly, inspired by the book "Conquering Depression and Anxiety Through Exercise" - I'm hoping working out (mainly ellipticals and running so far) helps, but the book says it takes a few months at least.

by Anonymousreply 4602/11/2013

Takes one to know one, R1.

by Anonymousreply 205/12/2011

R1, seems like you need a bit of help yourself.

OP, I have atypical depression and anxiety. I work out 7-8 hours per week and take chromium to manage my blood sugar, which works well for me. However, the chromium or, in the past before I learned about chromium, an antidepressant is/was necessary for me, no matter how much working out I do. Working out makes me feel better physically, but has never eased depression/anxiety for me.

by Anonymousreply 305/12/2011

Exercise alleviates the effects of depression, but it won't solve the underlying cause.

by Anonymousreply 405/12/2011

R3, I just read the Wikipedia entry about atypical depression and it sounds like my situation. How much chromium (picolinate?) do you take? What medications do you take? TIA.

by Anonymousreply 505/12/2011

I've been dealing with depression and anxiety for the majority of my life. My advice:

If you're up for some medicine, it can definitely make a difference. I've been on cymbalta for two years and its been for the better! There's also fish oils and holistic remedies like acupuncture that help with anxiety as well.

Getting a regular workout routine, as you know, is definitely crucial for combatting the depression.

Avoid alcohol if you can. It really messes with your brain chemistry on a long term basis.

Sleep has definitely become more of a priority for me as well.

by Anonymousreply 605/12/2011

Did anyone here have a thyroid function test and find that they had hypothyroidism, which in turn caused their depression?

by Anonymousreply 705/12/2011

R3 here. I take 500 mg of chromium picolinate per day. I took 1500 when I started, then whittled it down. I have taken Zoloft in the past which worked well for me. I was on Cymbalta but it made me exhausted - couldn't get out of bed. I have also taken Pristiq which was great for about three months and then abruptly stopped working.

I've been taking the chromium since October of last year. No side effects, no insurance needed.

by Anonymousreply 805/12/2011

I'd like to hear more people weigh in on this. I've been trying to get my son to work out hoping it will help him. I've even offered to pay for a personal trainer. He's on Celexa now and it seems to be helping, but it would be great if he could wean off the meds and onto a more natural cure (diet, exercise, meditation along with talk therepy). Powerful psych meds scare the crap out of me.

by Anonymousreply 905/12/2011

Dr. Daniel Amen- the one who's always on pbs - supports the theory that exorcise is the best way to deal with depression and would likely allow most people to avoid the need for depression med.

by Anonymousreply 1105/12/2011

After I started my gluten-free diet, my anxiety attack was mostly gone. I found fish oil also helps.

Most European decedents have some degree of gluten allergy.

by Anonymousreply 1205/12/2011

'supports the theory that exercise is the best way to deal with depression...'

This isn't a theory, it's the results of scientific studies. It looks more and more like antidepressants *are* expensive tic-tacs (see link). Some people that take them will feel better, but the % is no higher than placebo when all studies are included (not just the ones that are cherrypicked by big pharma).

Until a drug comes along that's proven better than placebo, exercise remains the best treatment. Even for major depression. I find that shocking. But it's what the science show.

by Anonymousreply 1305/12/2011

If your meds work, keep taking your meds - I don't care how many studies tell you it's fake. Take your meds.

It's been suggested that I'm hypomanic, so I'm not allowed meds. Exercise keeps me on a more even keel during the sunshine times and prevents the 'I don't even bathe any more' when life goes very wrong.

It's difficult to start up once you stop, so keep the 7-8 hours a week of exercise and change up your routine so you don't plateau. That's when I usually decide it's pointless ("I still look and feel good") and have to force myself to resume.

by Anonymousreply 1405/12/2011

For atypical depression, what exercises work best? My limbs feel very heavy and I'm drawn to carbs and sleep at odd hours for arguably too long. TIA.

by Anonymousreply 1505/13/2011

OP, while R1 may be harsh, he is spot-on. Many people today seem to think a pill will solve every problem; of course it won't.%0D %0D That being said, I advocate exercise like crazy, I am 46 and I LOVE it. I am fAr from an adonis, but the cardio and strength training exercises I do make EVERYTHING physically work better (bowl movements, concentraton at work, better and more frequent masturbation, etc.) So naturally I feel better as well.

by Anonymousreply 1605/13/2011

I'm on venlafaxine but for atypical depression, I'm reading that MAOIs might be best - albeit risky. Any opinions on MAOIs?

by Anonymousreply 1705/13/2011

R16, thanks. Do you have atypical depression?

by Anonymousreply 1805/13/2011

Take it from someone who struggled with depression for 15 years - exercise is great, but if the depression is very bad, you should take some meds, get your life together and then gradually get off the meds. It's what I did and it was necessary. %0D %0D Exercise works for me now to reduce my anxieties.

by Anonymousreply 1905/13/2011

Exercise not only helps improve mood and functioning in general, and can also help with short-term crises. I had a sudden, life-threatening illness, and once I was strong enough I became an exercise fiend. I would actually cry on the bike trails, and as I let myself feel the terror and anger I used the emotional energy to push push PUSH on the bike pedals. It also let me regain control of a body that had betrayed me.%0D %0D I'm also prone to depression, and going to the damn boring gym never helped, but bicycling, hiking, and yoga really do. %0D %0D

by Anonymousreply 2005/13/2011

I've started doing the Insanity workout and there is one day of exercise per week - I think it is called Plyometric Cardio Circuit - where I actually cry at the end of it. But it's a great cry. It's like i have completely and willingly expended 100% of the energy I have and I made it through to the other side. A wonderful cure for the blues.

by Anonymousreply 2105/13/2011

I have a friend who really keeps it buttoned. One day in yoga class she started crying. Once the dam opened she bawled uncontrollably. She was incredibly embarrassed but relieved as well. Of course she wishes she could have waited 'til she got home.%0D %0D Eh, that's the way life is sometimes.

by Anonymousreply 2205/13/2011

I started jogging regularly to help combat my depression. It was no miracle cure, but I can honestly say that it really did help. If I miss a few days for any reason, my mood is noticeably worse, so my runs are now a priority.

by Anonymousreply 2305/13/2011

r21, I've been thinking of trying Insanity, though it looks pretty scary. I think it would be good for me, though, help me to push past what I think I'm capable of.%0D %0D I take meds myself and am all for them, but I think exercise should be mandatory. As humans, we're meant to keep moving. The sedentary lifestyle we've adopted is completely the opposite of what our bodies are adapted to. And while some folks may need to keep taking meds, the exercise will help them be maximally effective.

by Anonymousreply 2405/13/2011

I tried running because I thought it would help with my depression, but it did not do anything noticeable. And I was in pain a lot of the time which did not help my mood level either.

by Anonymousreply 2505/13/2011

Exercise can be very helpful for many people suffering from moderate depression, but don't kid yourself that it works for severe depression. It doesn't.%0D %0D Meds are necessary for some people.

by Anonymousreply 2605/14/2011

One of the great secrets of life OP....

by Anonymousreply 2705/16/2011

Meds AND exercise are the only thing that have helped me. I have been battling both depression and anxiety my entire life and if I didn't finally start taking meds that work great for me I probable wouldn't even be here today.

Meds can work great for some people OP.

by Anonymousreply 2805/16/2011

anxiety and depression should be treated with multiple approaches including therapy, medication if necessary and exercise.

I don't think it can be completely "treated" with exercise alone.

by Anonymousreply 2905/16/2011

The problem with exercise as a cure for depression is motivation. Most depressed people can barely get out of bed let alone do intense exercise every day. Heck, even happy people have trouble staying motivated.

by Anonymousreply 3105/16/2011

Sometimes (like now) I get so anxious that I gag, as if I'm going to throw up. Am I alone? Does aerobic exercise help with this?

by Anonymousreply 3205/30/2011

Caffeine makes me anxious - even a little bit (like that in "Drive" flavor of Vitamin Water - 30mg).

by Anonymousreply 3305/30/2011

I agree about caffeine and anxiety. I have chronic anxiety, but it comes and goes. It is fairly mild and manageable by exercise. However, on the days when I have even a half a cup of coffee I become paralyzed by anxiety. So no coffee for me.

Today I had my first anxiety attack in years. I was in the doctor's office and it happened during the exam. I was sweating profusely and I almost passed out twice. I had stomach pains, too. It didn't even occur to me it was a panic attack until I was on my way home. I feel kind of zonked right now, but in a good way.

by Anonymousreply 3412/07/2011

I work out 5 times a week and I'm still depressed all the time. Can't imagine what would happen if I quit.

by Anonymousreply 3512/07/2011

I run at least 5 times a week to manage my anxiety. On the days when I don't feel like running I go for a bike ride or do some weight lifting. Without the high that comes with working out I'd be ruined. I got Xanax a few months ago, but it makes me sleepy and not in good way, just out of it.

by Anonymousreply 3612/07/2011

Whatever works works. It depends so much on the person.

Exercise never worked for me overall, meaning that a hard workout would occasionally, but not always, give me a momentary respite, a flood of feel-good chemicals in the brain. It helped with sleep to some degree. It seemed to cut the anxiety more than the depression.

The relief, when it happened, and it didn't always do much, didn't change the underlying, low-level, continual dysthymia, the grinding, day-to-day miserable existence sort of thinking.

Exercise also didn't stop severe episodes. Medical intervention with drug therapy saved my life a couple times.

As other people have said, if you are suffering from depression, get professional help, it is a dangerous situation, people die when it is untreated.

The first thing to do is to stop recreational drug use, alcohol especially, until you get a long-term handle on the problem. People who suffer from depression should be extremely wary of alcohol.

Then work out a regime with a professional that works. Try exercise first with talk therapy. If that works, then it works. Maybe add an anti-depressant if it isn't working.

Maybe start with a health-store remedy before the anti-depressant to see if the placebo effect works. Sometimes it does.

Depression is similar to a serious dermatological ailment in that any treatment is almost certainly going to be long-term, probably lifelong, it is going to involve different things at different times, and what works for one person isn't going to work for another, and to top it all off, what works for one person can stop working for that person and you have to change approaches.

Flexibility is the key.

If you think you suffer from depression, the first drug therapy you should try is the negative sort -- avoid alcohol.

by Anonymousreply 3712/07/2011

Exercise has been very helpful for my dysthymia, which is mild to moderate depression which is continuous. I discontinued meds for this (I tried most everything), because they were expensive and largely ineffective in my case.

Only downside is that it takes a lot. So in my case I do weights and quite a bit of cycling year round...and I bike most everywhere as a regular means of transportation. This effort has major rewards, and I think most anyone could do it with some minor attitude adjustment.

by Anonymousreply 3812/07/2011

Exercise is the only thing that will treat depression.

by Anonymousreply 3912/07/2011

[R37], that post should be required reading. Thank you. That says it all, in a concise way.

[R39], you are missing the point, please take the time to read [R37] People are all different. Some people cannot summon the will to exercise, some people need meds, exercise is one important part of the puzzle but won't solve everything for everyone.

by Anonymousreply 4012/07/2011

Working out in the morning and in daylight helps me immensely. I recently joined a new gym that at first glance was more than I thought I could afford but if I look at it as essential to my well-being, it's not an issue.

It has indoor and outdoor pools and the outdoor pool is heated all winter (I'm in the Northeast). Every day after my workout, I spend 20 - 30 minutes in the outdoor pool, swimming and stretching. For some reason, this combo - 1 hour of cardio and every other day 20 minutes of weight training, followed by swimming outdoors in daylight, flips a switch on my endorphins. I've seriously never felt better in my life. I do not feel the same effects if I work out in the evening, although I do sleep better.

If I do start to feel anxious, I try to get outdoors and walk briskly for 20 or 30 minutes.

by Anonymousreply 4112/07/2011

Thanks so much for this information, DLers.

by Anonymousreply 4212/07/2011

I work out regularly but what really helped reduce stress, anxiety, and just shot my energy levels through the roof, was going on a gluten-free, sugar-free diet with very few dairy products. Three months after finishing that diet, I've never felt better and more energized in my entire life (I'm 42).

by Anonymousreply 4312/07/2011

Mine is horrible when am about to get period.

by Anonymousreply 4409/10/2012

I deal with both anxiety and depression and have been on meds for depression in the past when it got really bad. I'm a huge believer in cardio as a preventative measure to help stave off my depressive and anxious symptoms. I'd go back on meds in a minute if I started feeling suicidal again though.

My worst depression seems linked to periods of overwork so I watch that really carefully. I also quit drinking (to reduce the temptation to self-medicate and not put depressants in my system).

by Anonymousreply 4509/10/2012

Thanks God! Like the Broadway thread, we have another exlusively for New Yorkers!

by Anonymousreply 4602/11/2013
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