Moderate Exercise as an Adjuvant Therapy for Treatment-Resistant Major Depressive Disorder: 6-Month Follow-Up (pp. 85-112)
Authors: (Jorge Mota-Pereira, Jorge Silverio, Daniela Fonte, Serafim Carvalho, Joaquim Ramos, Jose Carlos Ribeiro, School of Psychology, University of Minho, Portugal, and others)
Abstract: Although several international guidelines recommend exercise to reduce symptoms
of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), data concerning the long-term effects of exercise
in depression are still extremely scarce. Therefore, and in order to assess these long-term
effects, we have evaluated treatment-resistant MDD patients previously enrolled in a
moderate intensity 12 week exercise program at 3 and 6 months after the end of the
program, regarding HAMD17, BDI, GAF, CGI-S, WHOQOL-Bref and SF-36. Results
show that 47% of patients in the exercise group continued to exercise at follow-up. Those
who continued to exercise maintained the same depression and functional parameters
they showed after the 12 week exercise program, which were all improved compared to
the initial values (p < 0.05). Those who stopped exercising showed worse HAMD17,
GAF and CGI-S (p < 0.05) at 6 months follow-up than at the end of the exercise program.
All patient groups maintained their QoL scores at 6 month follow-up compared to the
scores at the end of the 12 week exercise program, regardless of continuing to exercise or
not. Therefore, we suggest that positive effects of exercise on depression and functioning
of treatment-resistant MDD only persist if exercise is continued over time. QoL
improvements are maintained after 6 months follow-up, even for patients who stop
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