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  1. #1
    Registered User Disarmed's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Anxiety/Depression and GYM TIME

    Not sure what other board to post this on, so here it goes:

    A buddy and mine are in a bit of an argument over whether or not Depression and/or Anxiety will go away from working out. I'm saying it will, he's saying it won't. His reasoning is because the person is not motivated enough to go to the gym in the first place. It's kinda gay, but that's really what his argument is boiling down to.

    Can anyone back me up with some simple answers or throw me some evidence for why it does go away (or if it does, not sure if I'm 100% correct).

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
    Registered User brian1570's Avatar
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    the gym is a method of coping with anxiety/depression. technically speaking coping is not the answer. to the only way to fully get over depression is to find the source or the cause and address it directly. in some cases this can take years and years. if you repress it by finding a method to cope...the depression/anxiety can resurface later on down the road. so to to tell you the truth you and your buddy are both wrong. if you want to know the real answer, go to college, get a degree in psychology.
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  3. #3
    Registered User George_Bondrew's Avatar
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    yay i agree with the above poster,
    working can a person feel better due to the fact that working out will release endorphins that make you feel good! It can also cause someone to interact with other people which is a positive as well!
    but you really need to find the source and treat it
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    Registered User carclar's Avatar
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    Exercise releases endorphines which are similar in nature to morphine. They make you feel good and have a sedative effect, however they are not addictive like morphine. An exercise routine tends to get routine into the rest of your life which leads to set waking up and sleeping times which helps your brain keep your serotonin levels at the correct level. Also exercising outside in natural daylight increases your levels of serotonin.
    All the above are known benefits to help with depression.
    However, people suffering from depression will need a good support network to enable them to get into an exercise routine and keep it going long enough to feel the benefits, which is a struggle if they aren't able to muster up the energy to get out of bed.

    C
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    Stay Strong all year long alex2363's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by brian1570 View Post
    the gym is a method of coping with anxiety/depression. technically speaking coping is not the answer. to the only way to fully get over depression is to find the source or the cause and address it directly. in some cases this can take years and years. if you repress it by finding a method to cope...the depression/anxiety can resurface later on down the road. so to to tell you the truth you and your buddy are both wrong. if you want to know the real answer, go to college, get a degree in psychology.
    Originally Posted by George_Bondrew View Post
    yay i agree with the above poster,
    working can a person feel better due to the fact that working out will release endorphins that make you feel good! It can also cause someone to interact with other people which is a positive as well!
    but you really need to find the source and treat it
    Originally Posted by carclar View Post
    Exercise releases endorphines which are similar in nature to morphine. They make you feel good and have a sedative effect, however they are not addictive like morphine. An exercise routine tends to get routine into the rest of your life which leads to set waking up and sleeping times which helps your brain keep your serotonin levels at the correct level. Also exercising outside in natural daylight increases your levels of serotonin.
    All the above are known benefits to help with depression.
    However, people suffering from depression will need a good support network to enable them to get into an exercise routine and keep it going long enough to feel the benefits, which is a struggle if they aren't able to muster up the energy to get out of bed.

    C
    good points, working out can help you cope, but if its chronic depression that hinders you physically its best to seek help. my brother has it and he takes meds and therapy for it.
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  6. #6
    toot toot i'm a dolphin topegur's Avatar
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    I was depressed (diagnosed by a doc) in college. Meds didn't help me at all, but hitting the gym every day was something I consider hugely important in getting over it.
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    The Weeknd Skyline89's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Disarmed View Post
    Not sure what other board to post this on, so here it goes:

    A buddy and mine are in a bit of an argument over whether or not Depression and/or Anxiety will go away from working out. I'm saying it will, he's saying it won't. His reasoning is because the person is not motivated enough to go to the gym in the first place. It's kinda gay, but that's really what his argument is boiling down to.

    Can anyone back me up with some simple answers or throw me some evidence for why it does go away (or if it does, not sure if I'm 100% correct).

    Thanks!
    I go to the gym like 5 days a week and still have depression but only due to a past event that I cant let go for some reason..


    BUT you can argue that once someone has goals (bodybuilding in this example) in life and they have the determination/discipline to attain their goal, they will notice everything else just dissapears and therefore they wont focus on the negative stuff like depression/anxiety. They will be happy to see results. Bodybuilding will build confidence. It will make you meet new people. It will make you healthier. It will make you GET OUT OF THE HOUSE (staying in the house and thinking can cause depression/anxiety). Tell him to get out there its summer time man.
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  8. #8
    Nursing Student SophieM's Avatar
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    I agree that it's a way to cope, but doesn't fix the problem. For me, when I am working out consistently, the depression isn't as bad as it is when I'm not. But, when I have to take breaks, the depression gets more severe within a week to the point where I am thinking about doing bodily harm.

    I've been on and off anti-depressants since I was 14 and in and out of therapy for even longer. Still working on the cause, which for me is childhood abuse. But I don't think I'd be here without the gym.
    Today, just like yesterday, and like tomorrow,
    I will make the most of my workout.
    I will be intense, I will be committed, I will be focused.
    Today, just like yesterday, and like tomorrow,
    I will push my body to the limit,
    I will embrace the hurt, I will embrace the pain.
    Today, just like yesterday and like tomorrow,
    I will lift heavier
    I will get bigger
    I will get stronger

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  9. #9
    Registered User Oliviakb's Avatar
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    Beyond the high you feel for five minutes after your workout it didn't help with my depression at all in the past. In fact with anxiety the gym can make you feel much worse... being in close quarters with so many people. On the other hand keeping busy and focusing on positive things has helped me personally a lot (only since meds though).. and the gym is definitely a part of that. Suppose it does help blow off steam too.
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  10. #10
    Registered User mikeyskywalker's Avatar
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    Your friend is an idiot. There's different types of depression and he's pulling the "if you have psychomotor retardation/anxiety then you won't want to go to the gym." Okay this is true, but even thinking of the effects that the gym has on me makes me pull out of this stage and want to have that body and ****. If you aren't in psychomotor retardation/have the motivation to get to the gym, then of course it will help. Take a general psychology class and in the text book it will specifically say that intense exercise is used to treat depression. Has to do with not only chemical reactions, but when you feel you can accomplish things...it raises your self esteem.

    I had psychomotor retardation to the point where I didn't even want to eat and drink water because it seemed like such a large task. I pushed myself to the gym and fix my diet. I no longer suffer from such severe depression.
    Intermittent fasting
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  11. #11
    Registered User usertrack's Avatar
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    I took up lifting weights regularly not just to get bigger and stronger but to get over my anxiety problems. So far, its been working as the routine, self discipline learned and the goals achieved remind me that I am empowered and in control of my life. Anxiety sufferers tend to feel as if everything is hopeless, impossible and doomed to failure. Simple tasks can be as scary as facing a mountain to climb and when I started out at the gym, it was exactly that - adjusting to working out in public without worrying what others think was a major thing but now its not really a problem and that's something I'm proud of, it felt good to break through that barrier which can hold an anxiety sufferer back. I don't know about the theory, I can only talk from experience but working out has undoubtedly helped me in turning my life around - I don't think I'm fully there yet and its always a battle, but it does make a difference.
    Last edited by usertrack; 06-05-2011 at 02:14 PM.
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  12. #12
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    it really depends whats causing the depression. You'd have to do some tests to isolate the issue. I'm not sure what that would entail but it could either be a purely chemical imbalance cause by food or heredity. OR it could be something in a persons psychology.

    The issue is that if a person starts to work out and depression does seem to disappear you'd still not know what was the source because exercise can do the following

    release endorphines that mask the depression or temporarily balance the chemical imbalance

    psychologically enhance the persons self image

    both
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    Registered User AlexFromPT's Avatar
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    Might work for some... For me It didn't. My anxiety/depersonalization is still here, not as bad as before though.
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    Registered User DrBroseph's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Disarmed View Post
    N
    A buddy and mine are in a bit of an argument over whether or not Depression and/or Anxiety will go away from working out.
    The other answers I've read in this thread are all on the right sort of tracks, but they all miss out one vital factor in this argument. The individual differences of a depressed person. Because that's what it comes down too. If someone's depression is caused due to them having negative views of them selves and the world around them, exercise can really help deal with it. Or if someone suffers a lost that leads them to depression, exercise can be a good way of getting them out of the bout of depression. However, if someones depressed because of a medical reason, then exercise may have less of an impact. Then again, it could even end up having more of an impact. It all comes down to variables in a person current lifestyle and the cause of their depression. Someone who has locked themselves away and has no social interaction will find that working out gets them to a social place. It may not exactly be a party or a bowling trip, but the gym is full of different people, and one of them is bound to share similar views to the depressive person.
    Overall, exercise is seen as beneficial to a depressive person, but you can argue that in some cases it has little effect. Especially with bipolar depression. However, it has no real negatives for a depressive, so therapies such as CBT always recommend some sort of exercise because there's no real harm in it.

    See the thread in my signature for more details on depression.
    A collection of over 500 motivational images in one single .rar, with other posters confirming it legitimacy and screenshots are provided:
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=132535053
    (The file has been re-uploaded, check post #46.)


    Here is my thread on depression, which covers all you need to know about it. Feel free to PM me with any questions as well.
    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?p=691351341
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  15. #15
    Registered User Apothecurious's Avatar
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    I couldn't give you any hard evidence in the form of studies and such. However many people get a sense of satisfaction from working to better their bodies and such. For many, there is a physical release of dopamine and endorphins while working out which will make people feel better as well. In addition, many times when people are depressed, working on your fitness and your body gives you a goal to work towards. A lot of people feel a greater sense of purpose when they do this and tends to make them feel better.

    I can speak from experience that I feel much better after working out. I had a major depressive episode about 2 years ago which prompted me to take up lifting and I haven't had one since. YMMV
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    Not going to come at this from a scientific point of view at all...

    Depression can come from so many things but I think a common issue is the need for a lifestyle change, or at least the feeling of having more control over yourself. Working out gives people a real goal to work towards, that they can see progression happening in. It makes them accountable for themselves and also the added responsibility of diet control is an important thing. It gets them out of the house, in a better routine, and around people. I think spending as much time as possible around people goes a long way in helping anxiety. You don't need to be talking to anyone, but a gym environment is no different than sitting in a coffee shop or a movie theater, etc. Being reclusive is only going to make things worse. Anxiety can come from worry, stagnation, fear, and disliking things about yourself. I know it's a deeper issue, but I think at the end of the day depression is hugely influenced by your choice of acting or not acting to deal with your anxiety.

    I don't like your friends argument. It boils down to making the decision to do something (do ANYTHING) with yourself, and everyone has that power regardless of their depression/anxiety levels. A lot of people I care about struggle with depression, and I am someone who could also be on medication for it. For me, working out is a starting point for dealing with my problems so I won't have to medicate. I'm not trying to question the effectiveness of medication, but it's not the only road. Just saying that working out has kept me from becoming a "patient" and put the responsibility on myself, where it needs to be.
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  17. #17
    Registered User DrBroseph's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Apothecurious View Post
    I couldn't give you any hard evidence in the form of studies and such.
    Hard evidence:

    A study by Babyak et al (2006) on the effect of exercise in treatment for depression compared to anti-depressants.
    He assigned participants, who all suffered from depression, randomly into 3 groups, as follows:
    1. Four months of aerobic exercise
    2. Drug treatment
    3. Combination of the above two.

    After four months, all showed improvements. Six months later, he revisited the patients and found that not only did exercise improve their mental health, but that it also greatly lowered their relapse rate. Meaning that it didn't just help them in the short term, but benefited them in the long term as well.
    However, we can't assume this is a general result that all sufferers of depression will benefit from. See my prior post for a waffle of why there are differences in how effective the treatment is for treating different people.


    Forgot to mention that in my other post, probably would of helped the OP a lot more.
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    Here is my thread on depression, which covers all you need to know about it. Feel free to PM me with any questions as well.
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  18. #18
    Registered User Apothecurious's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DrBroseph View Post
    Hard evidence:

    A study by Babyak et al (2006) on the effect of exercise in treatment for depression compared to anti-depressants.
    He assigned participants, who all suffered from depression, randomly into 3 groups, as follows:
    1. Four months of aerobic exercise
    2. Drug treatment
    3. Combination of the above two.

    After four months, all showed improvements. Six months later, he revisited the patients and found that not only did exercise improve their mental health, but that it also greatly lowered their relapse rate. Meaning that it didn't just help them in the short term, but benefited them in the long term as well.
    However, we can't assume this is a general result that all sufferers of depression will benefit from. See my prior post for a waffle of why there are differences in how effective the treatment is for treating different people.


    Forgot to mention that in my other post, probably would of helped the OP a lot more.
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  19. #19
    Registered Beast UpInSmoke's Avatar
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    I went into a period of severe anxiety/panic attks/dep/dp, the works, about about half a year ago, and am just now getting back to being stable. At one point I was hearing voices, contemplating suicide daily, and barely could make it out of the house. I forced myself to go workout daily because I knew it would make me feel better, if only for a little bit. Lifting weights, eating right, the whole lifestyle is a necessary component to my mental stability at this point, and from now on.

    It took a combination of intense therapy, meds, support network, soul searching and meditation and of course working out and eating right for me to bounce back. All of my problems stemmed from childhood problems and major drug abuse during my adolescence. I am very grateful for what bodybuilding has done for me, so I feel the need to return the favor and give it all I got from now on. It's helped in so many ways, so I would agree with what you posted. It can definitely help some people, others it can be a bit harder if they're that far gone.
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  20. #20
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    Is it better to lift or do cardio
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    Registered User JChaos's Avatar
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    I have the ultimate answer. One incredibly powerful that if you disagree with it, YOU ARE WRONG.

    Depends on the individual.

    Depression can occur for a variety of reasons. Thus their are different treatments. The gym may work for one person but not another. People have to find what works best for them and that will be different from some.
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  22. #22
    Registered User bazhtid's Avatar
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    3 years ago my confidence was rock bottom. I was depressed and highly anxious. Like a lost soul. I started going to the gym 3 days a week mostly weight training. Gradually I started to feel different. Felt happier, had lots more energy and could feel my confidence rising/ anxiety decreasing and depression lifting. I cut down on my alcohol intake in a big way which also meant I basically quit smoking. I started to drink tons more water, ate foods packed with protein, drinking shakes, taking multi vitamins which all led to sleeping 100 times better than before.

    Basically what I am trying to say is its not just the sessions in the gym that help with the depression/anxiety. Its the changes you will make in your lifestyle because you will learn that these changes will help you work better in the gym and recover quicker when you finish each workout.

    At christmas past, i didnt train for near 3 weeks due to deciding to have a few wild drinking nights out round the town. I think I went out 4 nights in those 3 weeks and get very drunk and smoked and come boxing night i felt depressed for at least a week. I felt rotten inside,my stomach was jumping and my throat was sore. It takes hard work to get yourself feeling right but it is so easy to flip to the other side and feel like hell just by changing your lifestyle in a negative way. You may also make new friends in the gym which will make you feel better about yourself.
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  23. #23
    Registered User golfstar22's Avatar
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    Working out releases endorphins so I don't see why working out wouldn't act like a mild anti-depressant. Diet is important as well.
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    I think when you feel depressed, it's rooted in the idea that you're stuck and don't want to do anything or go anywhere. Feeling and being stagnant only further adds to depression. I think working out, going for a bike ride, going for a walk in the neighborhood; any kind of physical activity helps the person gain confidence and lessens depression because it's doing nothing that's the enemy.

    Maybe you have to drag your friend to go somewhere and do something. Sometimes people need a kickstart.
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  25. #25
    Registered User LeeBroome's Avatar
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    I guess it depends on the person, I had a family member who was going through a lot and was showing signs on depression. They were introduced to the gym and slowly but surely, he came out of his funk and now a huge inspiration to me. It probably also depends on how deep their depression is.

    Ive never had an issue with depression but I've always been involved in sports and with lifting weights, now that I am weightlifting and I'm deployed and missing my wife and son like crazy I know that if I was not going to the gym I would more than likely be depressed or at least a little down. The gym has really helped me to get out all of my frustrations.
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