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12 Drug-Free Ways To Beat Depression

First Posted: 10/ 6/2011 8:20 am   Updated: 12/ 6/2011 4:12 am

By Tammy Worth

Depression affects nearly 16 million Americans annually, and a large portion of those people take antidepressant drugs.

While antidepressants have been shown to help those with moderate to severe depression, they are usually less effective for those with mild depression.

If you don’t respond to antidepressants (or even if you do), you may want to explore nondrug remedies to lift your depression.

Exercise
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Exercise can relieve depression, possibly by altering the mood-regulating brain chemicals norepinephrine and serotonin.

It may also release the endorphins responsible for the "runner's high" that some experience.

P. Murali Doraiswamy, M.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University School of Medicine, in Durham, recommends exercising three to five times a week for 20 to 30 minutes.

Aerobic exercise, like brisk walking on a treadmill, is best, but "any degree of exercise is better than none," he says.

More from Health.com:

How Omega-3 Fatty Acids Can Relieve Depression
Can Psychedelic Drugs Treat Depression?
12 Surprising Causes of Depression
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