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Mental healthJun 8, 2021

Exercising reaps benefits for people with coronary heart disease who are depressed, review shows

People with coronary heart disease who are depressed seem to gain more benefit from exercise than from antidepressants and psychotherapy or more complex care – at least in the short term.

That is the conclusion of a study, written by an international team led by Frank Doyle from the department of health psychology at the Dublin-based Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) University of Medicine and Health Sciences, that appears in this month’s edition of Psychosomatic Medicine.

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The study adds to a growing body of evidence on the impact lifestyle has on treatment options

Dr Doyle and his colleagues claim their paper is the first systematic review to compare treatments for depression for people with coronary heart disease.

The researchers focused on treatment trials that investigated the efficacy of antidepressants, psychotherapy, exercise, and combined psychotherapy and antidepressants. Trials based on collaborative care approaches – treatments developed by multidisciplinary clinical teams, with input from patients – were also included.

The research team looked at factors such patients’ adherence to the treatment (or ‘dropout rates’) and changes in patients’ depressive symptoms eight weeks after the onset of treatment. While exercise and combination treatments (antidepressants and psychotherapy) had the ...

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