Did you happen to see 60 Minutes last night?
The second story was about anti-depressant meds and how truly ineffective they are.
It turns out that unless a patient is severely and clinically depressed, most medications don’t work any better than sugar pills.
The how and why isn’t really why I’m writing about this today. Let me jump ahead to my point:
Statistics show exercising five or six days a week–for ten weeks–is just as effective as taking any of the many anti-depressant medications that are available on the market today.
As a matter of fact, the story pointed-out that even among seriously depressed individuals, using prescription anti-depressants only helps around 14% of those patients anyway.
Instead, what seems to aid most depressed patients the most is a physician who listens to them and cares about their problems–and then takes one or more pills prescribed by their physician regularly.
Yes, this includes a placebo or sugar pill.
Most multiple myeloma patients (and I’m guessing a lot of caregivers, too!) experience depression sometime during their life after diagnosis. And since many myeloma patients are too damaged by their cancer and other co-morbidities to exercise much, this can present a problem.
But if you can exercise–even just a little–it sure can’t hurt!
I know our good friend, Danny, is going to examine this in one or more upcoming columns, so I won’t push it too hard now.
Instead, I would like everyone to remember that a vast majority of myeloma patients become depressed at one time or another during their “new normal” lives–and when this happens, a wide variety of things could help improve their state of mind.
Talking with other patients and/or medical professionals who understand may help. Anti-pain and depression meds might help, too. And so can regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Does everyone agree that this topic needs to be explored further? Based on daily emails I receive from survivors who are down and depressed, I believe that there is a need for more coverage of depression related issues on sites like mine.
So watch for more articles, helpful links and an open dialogue about the topic in the future.
Let’s all do our best to try and help our myeloma friends to feel better so they can keep smiling! Pat