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By Alex Carmichael, Co-Founder of CureTogether
The top treatments for depression are simple lifestyle changes, according to patients who contributed to a new study by CureTogether, a free resource owned by 23andMe that allows people to share information about their health and treatments.
Participants in the study said they found that interventions like exercise, spending time with pets, and listening to music were the most effective for them in treating their depression. Conversely, some popular treatments such as alcohol, Paxil, and caffeine were among the least effective, according to the participants in the CureTogether survey.
Depression is the number one condition among participants in CureTogether, with 11,443 members contributing data on what works and doesn’t work for them. While many people feel sad from time to time, depression is a serious mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It often goes untreated, according to the National Institutes for Health. The participants in the CureTogether survey may not be diagnosed with clinical depression. They are self-reporting that they have depression and the associated symptoms. There are a number of causes and treatments for the condition. In this survey, participants pointed to stress and social isolation as the most common causes of their depression.
2. Spend time with a pet
3. Play outside
4. Music with exercise
5. Music therapy
6. Daily aerobic exercise
7. Daily sunlight exposure
8. Art therapy
*For a list of all the treatments listed in the survey go here.
Participants in this survey also did not rank some of the most commonly used drugs for treating depression in their list of the top 25 effective treatments. But among the medication that many participants listed as effective were SSRIs, Xanax and Low Dose Naltrexone.
Where did this data come from? This is the result of a five-year CureTogether study on depression, in which people suffering from the condition shared information about their symptoms and treatment effectiveness.
We’d like to thank those who participated. And just as they shared their experience with depression treatments, we’re freely and openly sharing the results of the Depression
This is part of a regular series of CureTogether research findings. CureTogether’s research findings are different than those made by 23andMe, which look at genetic associations with illness, traits and drug response. But as we continue our work with the CureTogether community, 23andMe hopes to incorporate more of this kind of self-reported information into our own research. CureTogether present its findings just as they are — patient-reported data — to stimulate discussion and generate new insights for further research.
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