Lifestyle interventions can prevent major depression

Harold Mandel's picture
Suffering from depression

It is possible to prevent depression with lifestyle interventions. Depression can cause catastrophic problems in a person's life due to adverse effects which it can have on your ability to work well and to socialize. Serious depressions can even lead to suicide. Drug therapy to treat depression has come under attack in recent years due to the serious side effects which are often associated with psychiatric drugs. Therefore natural interventions to prevent depression are important.

Researchers decided to assess the efficacy of problem-solving therapy for primary care (PST-PC) for the prevention of episodes of major depression and for mitigating depressive symptoms of older black and white adults, reported Psychiatric Services. The comparison group was offered dietary coaching. The researchers observed that both PST-PC and dietary coaching are potentially effective to help protect older black and white adults with subsyndromal symptoms of depression from developing episodes of major depression over a period of two years.


Lifestyle interventions have been observed to be able to help prevent major depression in older black and white adults with mild symptoms, reports the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. According to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Maryland, discussions with a dietary coach to learn about healthy eating were as effective as meeting with a counselor for problem-solving or “talk” therapy to help in the prevention of major depression among older black and white adults suffering from mild symptoms of the depression.

Charles F. Reynolds III, M.D., Professor of Geriatric Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, has said depression is very common and treatments often fail to completely resolve the disability which is associated with the illness. Patients often become isolated and unable to care for themselves due to sadness, fatigue and lack of interest in activities which used to bring pleasure to them. Reynolds said, “That’s why we’re very interested in finding ways to prevent the disease in those we know are particularly vulnerable.” The avoidance of episodes of major depression can clearly help people stay happy and engaged in their communities while also reducing health care costs.

Reynolds says that previous studies have indicated that about 25 percent of people in later life who are mildly depressed become seriously depressed over the next one to two years. The researchers observed that about 9 percent of the people in each intervention group went on to experience an episode of major depression, and they all had a similar lowering in depressive symptoms over the two-year study period. Both of the approaches for intervention were observed to be equally successful among black and white participants. It has been seen in this project that interventions in which people actively engage in the management their own life problems, such as financial or health issues, generally have a positive effect on well-being and a preventive effect against the onset of depression.

I have witnessed the myriad of dangerous side effects which are associated with the use of drugs for the prevention and treatment of depression. Electroshock treatment is another orthodox treatment for depression which generally is associated with very damaging side effects. Clearly, therefore the best medicine for depression is natural prevention. Certainly adhering to healthy dietary patterns which include eating a lot of fresh fruit, vegetables, and fish while staying away from too much sugar and alcohol, coupled with daily exercise, should help prevent depression naturally.