Murphy of Harrisburg, PA, asks:
Are there any research findings on the effectiveness of exercise and/or
St. Johns Wort for depression? How do they compare with the anti-depressants?
Marcia Angell responds:
I believe there has been some research on the effectiveness of St. Johns
Wort for depression, but I haven't reviewed the work in detail and would
rather not comment here. Exercise is generally agreed to be beneficial,
but it is very difficult to study the question rigorously, since depressed
people may be considerably less willing to exercise.
George Lundberg responds:
There is very little credible evidence yet available on the effectiveness
of exercise or St. Johns Wort for depression. Exercise is good for many
things, rarely hurts, and could help. Current studies of St. Johns Wort
should be available in a fairly short time and may answer that question.
Meanwhile, many antidepressants are known to be highly effective in
the treatment of depression and should be used with confidence.