Jump to content

Patients: Exercise, sleep, socializing most effective treatments for depression


Recommended Posts

  • Administrator



Antidepressants are in the "Popular but less helpful" zone -- very mediocre.




This chart is based on 4,956 people with depression who participated in CureTogether surveys, compared to 944 people last year.


The top treatments are still exercise, sleep, and talking to others – they are popular and effective ways to feel better when you’re depressed.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sleep used to be my cure-all. I would even call it "repairing permissions" (like you do on a computer)... I can tell a big difference in my mood if I got enough sleep. I'm only now really understanding the benefits of exercise and socialization, however. I mean, I always knew they helped, but since they involve a bit more of a delayed reward, I wasn't very good about being disciplined about it.

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...

I came here just now thinking we need a thread like this, and here it is.


Supplements can only do so much. In the end it is up to us to start doing the things we used to enjoy, or used to benefit from.


Are there people who have good exercise programs, who could tell me how they got started? What got them off the couch...


It must be a big part of recovery and health. I was athletic until my mid-20s and can't quite motivate to resume. I was on a team and had a bicycling buddy in youth. The socializing was half the fun. Come to think of it I have been adding pounds since then, and never thought about how active I used to be. I thought it was just aging.

2009: Cancer hospital said I had adjustment disorder because I thought they were doing it wrong. Their headshrinker prescribed Effexor, and my life set on a new course. I didn't know what was ahead, like a passenger on Disneyland's Matterhorn, smiling and waving as it climbs...clink, clink, clink.

2010: Post surgical accidental Effexor discontinuation by nurses, masked by intravenous Dilaudid. (The car is balanced at the top of the track.) I get home, pop a Vicodin, and ...

Whooosh...down, down, down, down, down...goes the trajectory of my life, up goes my mood and tendency to think everything is a good idea.
2012: After the bipolar jig was up, now a walking bag of unrelated symptoms, I went crazy on Daytrana (the Ritalin skin patch by Noven), because ADHD was a perfect fit for a bag of unrelated symptoms. I was prescribed Effexor for the nervousness of it, and things got neurological. An EEG showed enough activity to warrant an epilepsy diagnosis rather than non-epileptic ("psychogenic") seizures.

:o 2013-2014: Quit everything and got worse. I probably went through DAWS: dopamine agonist withdrawal syndrome. I drank to not feel, but I felt a lot: dread, fear, regret, grief: an utter sense of total loss of everything worth breathing about, for almost two years.

I was not suicidal but I wanted to be dead, at least dead to the experience of my own brain and body.

2015: I  began to recover after adding virgin coconut oil and organic grass-fed fed butter to a cup of instant coffee in the morning.

I did it hoping for mental acuity and better memory. After ten days of that, I was much better, mood-wise. Approximately neutral.

And, I experienced drowsiness. I could sleep. Not exactly happy, I did 30 days on Wellbutrin, because it had done me no harm in the past. 

I don't have the DAWS mood or state of mind. It never feel like doing anything if it means standing up.

In fact, I don't especially like moving. I'm a brain with a beanbag body.   :unsure:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...
  • Administrator

I came across this article and thought it fits nicely on this thread.




Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills:


In a study done at the University of British Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart and your sweat glands pumping, appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning.


I just started being able to do cardio again, so I'm reading more about exercise and its effects on the brain. Having spent 30 years on every type of psych drug out there - including antipsychotics - this article means there may be more hope than I thought. This is about fixing structural damage, not just functional damage. 


That being said, withdrawal can make this type of exercise impossible for a really long time, but it's still a good addition to other studies on neuroplasticity. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 


My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"


And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 9 months later...

Hi all, 


I have heard that many people have 'cured' their depression or perhaps stabilized themselves or felt slightly better after introducing exercise into their lives consistently. Has anyone had firsthand experience with this and would be kind enough to share their story?


I am thinking of using exercise as a way to help myself rather than medication. I am not consistently doing exercise, but when I do, I feel tired afterwards. I know that this is actually normal, since when you exercise, you feel tired and then you need to drink water and fuel up with some food to feel better. 




Prozac (20mg): Oct 2016 - Nov 2016 

Wellbutrin (200mg): Nov 2016 - May 2017 

Abilify (2mg): April 2017 - May 2017 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I consistently go to the gym 3 days a week. I mainly lift weights and do some light cardio. Personally it makes me feel really good. If I'm having a bad day, then a good workout is a stress reliever for me. Would I say it could "cure" me? Unfortunately not. Lift my mood? Yes. I enjoy the physical benefits of being in shape. Stronger, more stamina, less fatigue, etc. That being said, no amount of exercise will magically get me off zoloft in a week or a month for that matter. I would like to think that moderate exercise keeps my central nervous system in shape so withdrawal is easier.

April 26th - 36.5>32.8mg Z.

Feb 4th - 40.5>36.5mg Zoloft.

Jan 5th - 45>40.5mg Zoloft.

Dec 6th - 50>45mg Zoloft.

Nov 1st - 53>50.0mg Zoloft. Sep 22/17 - 50.0>53.0mg Zoloft. Sep 18/17 - 59.0>50.0mg Zoloft.

Aug 7/17 - 65.6>59.0mg  July 18/17 - 72.9>65.6mg. June 18/17 - 81>72.9mg 

May 28/17 - 90>81mg.  May 8/17:  Started my taper. 100>90mg

1995 to May 8/17:  100mg Zoloft/day.  Working well but suspecting some signs of Tolerance this past year.

4/5/17:  Started Testosterone Replacement Therapy via T pellet insertion.  Diagnosed with Secondary Hypogonadism.

Supplements:  1000mg fish oil, 10,000iu Vit D3 with K2, 400mg Magnesium.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is a lot of evidence that shows that exercise works better than most antidepressants.  When I had my meltdown in 2013 one of the first things my counselor told me to do was to join a gym. My personal experience was that when I was at my peak of anxiety a few years ago, a good 30 minutes on the treadmill would "reset" my system and help turn off the constant anxiety for the evening. A tired body and the post workout shower were almost as effective as a Xanax. Exercise is something we all should be doing anyway and has no negatives other than time and possibly the cost of a gym membership.


If you feel too tired afterwards then start with a gentler workout and work your way up over time. I'm incredibly obese and out of shape and have noticed how quickly the body can increase its endurance in just a few months.

First panic attack 2/94. On Prozac for 6 months with no relief. Then switched to imipramine for 6 months. Started on 30mg Paxil in 12/97 for panic attacks and anxiety. Worked fine until 2/13. Dose increased to 40mg and anxiety and panic got worse. Started tapering from 40mg in 11/13. Currently at 10.9mg and feeling better. Intermittent Xanax use throughout.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...



Exercising definitely makes a difference, especially if you do it in the morning. On the days, my husband and I work out (at least 5 days/wk) we both feel better. Tired in the afternoon but more relaxed. In the last year I have come off two strong antidepressants ...Effexor & Mirtazapine.. Effexor was the worst to come off of...I thought I was going crazy and going to die. About a seven weeks ago I stopped Mirtazapine and went through hell for about a month. Mirtazapine made me so lethargic I didn’t exercise very much when I was on it, but recently I started back exercising more faithfully and each day I am feeling much better.  I started with early morning walks and have increased the exercises to at least 30 minutes of cardio most days with weight lifting at least twice a week.  If you are starting out I recommend walking in a park so that the walk is more back to nature and doing it for 10 to 15 minutes(breaks in between if needed) Slowly increase your time every week until you reach your goal. I am hoping that my exercising will help me through two other withdrawals that I plan to do over the next 8 weeks.  I hope this helps someone. My husband and I go to gym at the YMCA which also provides some social activity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy