Put down the pills, pick up the runners
Published 16/11/2015 | 02:30
Wouldn't it be marvellous if there was a magic bullet for mental health? And I don't mean prescription anti-depressants. In 1998, over 11 million Americans took anti-depressants at some stage during the year. By 2010, this had more than doubled to over 23 million. That is a lot of people who are going about their day-to-day business with a powerful legal chemical coursing through their veins.
What happens across the pond, we soon copy. One Irish report found that the State spent €40m on such prescriptions to 330,000 patients in 2012. Doctors estimate that between one in 10 and one in five people are using anti-depressants. Aware estimates that one in 10 of us will suffer depression during our lifetime.
That is a lot of depression and if there is no magic bullet, there is one thing that is not too far from it. Exercise. Now I know that top-class athletes who exercise for a living are not immune to depression. Set that aside for a minute and think about the general population. Most of us do not exercise enough.