How To Treat Depression Without Drugs


Hi, it’s Alex! Today I want to talk about how to treat depression
without drugs. I don’t want to take a stance in this video
of being anti-drug or pro-drug. These are things that you can either use in addition to drugs as like a supplemental
treatment, or on their own, if you’re not interested
in taking drugs. And I want to talk about primarily two things, about exercise, and about cognitive behavioral
therapy. Exercise is a really effective treatment for
depression, and it’s something that most people are able
to access for themselves. I say “most” because there are certain times when like people have like an injury or a
medical condition, where it might not be a realistic way to treat
depression, but for most people, exercise is something
that is available to them. It isn’t necessarily an easy treatment, like you have to discipline yourself to do
the exercise, but it’s very effective. There is a lot of evidence on this. I actually was editing wikipedia today, and I was looking up meta analyses of scientific studies on depression and exercise. And there is a ton of evidence that exercise
is effective for treating depression. And not just mild depression, it’s also effective
for treating major depressive episodes. There are some reasons that I really like
exercise as a treatment for depression, and one of them is that it is a generally
very healthy thing to do. So, it’s not just treating depression, but it improves your overall health. And it can reduce your risk of a wide variety
of diseases, especially like chronic things like type 2
diabetes, heart disease, things like that. So exercise is just fantastic for your overall
health. What type of exercise? This is a sort of complex question, but there is evidence that both aerobic exercise and strength training are effective for treating
depression. I’m personally more a fan of aerobic exercise, I think it tends to be a little bit more important
for overall health. How you get exercise, that’s another question. I love dancing. I love social dance. It’s one of my favorite ways to get exercise. I also like walking. Walking is a fantastic way to get exercise. It’s very simple, it’s easy on the body, it’s much easier than running. Running is another option. I also ride my bike a lot. So that’s how I exercise. I want to make clear, I’m talking from experience
here when I talk about treating depression with
exercise. Depression is something that I have struggled
with on and off, and I’ve noticed tangible benefits in my own
life. When I exercise more regularly, I tend to
feel better. It’s not a guarantee that I will completely
recover from depression, but it definitely helps. One last thing to say about exercise. Exercise often has immediate benefits, like, you start doing it, within a few days you
can feel better. Sometimes I’ve found I feel better immediately, like I can be pretty depressed, and when I start moving my body around, I feel an immediate boost in my mood. And that’s really powerful! So what’s the other recommendation that I
have for treating depression without drugs? That is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Now this is a big thing, I can’t really cover
the whole thing. But Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is,
I’m gonna call CBT, is a type of therapy that is, it’s relatively
modern, and it has been studied scientifically, and there is a lot of evidence that it works. And how does it work? It works in multiple ways. Uhh, as the name suggests, cognitive and behavioral, it works both with your thoughts, your cognitions, and it works on your behaviors. So it focuses on restructuring your way of
thinking, and it also focuses on changing your behaviors. And there’s a ton of stuff in it. Uhh, but I want to, without really going into depth,
I wanna talk about like how do you access CBT? Probably the most effective way to do it is to find a counselor, a therapist, that
you can talk to face-to-face. I understand though, that this option is not
available to all people. Some people can’t afford it, they don’t have
health insurance, and sometimes it can be hard to locate a counselor, it can be hard to find a counselor who is
accepting new patients. So I understand not everyone has access to
this option. And not everyone wants it. Some people aren’t necessarily comfortable
with therapy, they might be scared of it, intimidated by
it, they might have had bad experiences with it. I think therapy is great, I love it. But it’s not the only way to get exposed to
CBT. Some other great options for you. There are good self-help books. I really recommend this book called “Feeling
Good” by David Burns. One thing I like about this book, the book itself has been studied scientifically. There have been control studies that have
people read this book and work through it, and they find that the book itself is an effective
treatment for depression. I think that’s really freaking awesome. Like, how many books can you say that about? It’s like, people have actually rigorously
studied this book to find that it works. So that’s one thing I recommend. Another book if you also struggle with anxiety, by David Burns, is called “When Panic Attacks”. I mention that because anxiety and depression often are related, and I also think that’s
a really great book. What’s another resource out there? There’s this website by an Australian University,
called “Mood Gym”, and I really recommend it, I think I’m going to put a link in the comments
to my video to that website. It’s like a little mini therapy program. It’s not all that comprehensive, but there’s a ton of stuff packed in it, and if you can take the techniques in that
program, and implement them in your life, that can
be really great. You can combine all these things! You can do exercise, you can go to a counselor, you can read self-help books, and you can
do this online program, you can do any combination of these them. I find that it’s easier to tackle depression if I tackle it from multiple angles. I would encourage you to do the same. I hope this has been informative, and please comment if you have any questions
about any of these, or if you have comments, if you have any suggestions of other treatments that you think would be good for me to talk
about that I haven’t considered. Thank you!

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