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Evidence-Based Recommendations for the Prescription of Exercise for Major Depressive Disorder


Journal of Psychiatric Practice®: May 2013 - Volume 19 - Issue 3 - p 204–212
doi: 10.1097/01.pra.0000430504.16952.3e

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a source of great disease burden, due in part to the limited accessibility and effectiveness of current treatments. Although current treatments are efficacious in a segment of the population with MDD, there is a clear need for alternative and augmentation treatment strategies. Exercise is one such alternative treatment option. Research has shown exercise to be efficacious as both a stand-alone and an augmentation therapy. As a result, exercise is now included in the American Psychiatric Association’s treatment recommendations. The purpose of this article is to provide clinicians with a knowledge base to prescribe exercise to their patients. The authors describe the evidence supporting the use of exercise in the treatment of MDD, provide evidence-based recommendations for prescribing exercise, and address practical considerations related to prescribing exercise in real-world treatment settings. (Journal of Psychiatric Practice 2013;19:204–212)

RETHORST and TRIVEDI: Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Please send correspondence to: Dr. Chad Rethorst, Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390-9119.

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