I am in the process of recovering from a major depressive episode which is believed to be partially hormonally triggered since two other depressive episodes in my life have occurred at times of hormonal vulnerability (post-partum). I am working with a reputable psychiatrist and therapist. I am on medication and of course continually looking for other methods to help me. I have found yoga and moderate aerobic activity helpful and my doctors both recommend it. However, during my downtime, I read a 2005 wiki-book submission by a gentleman who is admits he is not a medical professional and he conjectures his theories of the cause of depression and his theory for recovery. He conjectures that exercise can be harmful. Because of my depressive state, I’m now worried that perhaps I shouldn’t exercise, but I know how good I feel. I shouldn’t trust what I read on the internet, but I respect you as a source. I know there are hundreds of studies documenting the benefit of exercise, why would I let one unsubstataniated theory make me doubt what is helpful? In your professional opinion and experience, is exercise beneficial for depression?Doubting What I Know To Be True
Doubting What I Know To Be True
Exercise is a way to gain control over an aspect of one’s life. People can become depressed because they feel that they don’t look good. They may be self-conscious about their appearance, their weight, and other aspects of their body. Exercise can be a way to take control over these aspects of their lives. Exercise can also increase energy. Low energy is a symptom of depression. I’ve seen the benefits of exercise in all of my depressed patients. In my opinion, exercise is beneficial for depression.
As you noted in your letter, many studies support the assertion that exercise can be beneficial for depression. That’s empirical evidence. That is science. You know from your own experience that exercise helps you. Trust yourself and the empirical evidence.
The theory put forth by the wiki-author should not be given the same weight as the knowledge published in scientific journals by scientists, who have had many years of rigorous training in their respective disciplines. Perhaps you’re having difficulty knowing what or who to trust because of depression. As a professor, I tell my students never to trust the material on Wikipedia because it is not always a reliable resource. Any Internet user can change, add or edit the information on Wikipedia. There is no way to determine with certainty the source of the material. Therefore, from a scientific point of view it is not a credible resource. My advice is to trust in science. Please take care.