The Key to Better Depression Treatment
Even for the most devoted fitness lovers, sometimes it can be difficult to find the motivation to do another workout. Though the act of exercising leads to an overall better mood, sometimes it’s getting started that’s the hardest part.
However, scientists have recently discovered the area of the brain they believe is responsible for motivating us to exercise. The discovery of this area, which also may control the motivation to participate in other rewarding activities, could lead to improved treatments for depression.
Because exercise is one of the most effective therapies for depression outside of medication, the scientists who made the discovery hope it leads to better, more targeted treatments for the mental illness.
“Changes in physical activity and the inability to enjoy rewarding or pleasurable experiences are two major hallmarks of major depression,” Dr. Eric Turner, principal investigator of the research said in a statement.
“But the brain pathways responsible for exercise motivation have not been well understood. Now we can seek ways to manipulate activity within this specific area of the brain without impact the rest of the brain’s activity.”
The idea of possible new treatments is a precious one in the area of mental health. Many treatments have not changed much over the years, as scientists work to understand the human brain. With the discovery of the potential function of this area of the brain, scientists like Dr. Turner are optimistic about what could be possible for treating mental health problems.
“Working in mental health can be frustrating,” he said. “We have not made a lot of progress in developing new treatments. I hope the more we can learn about how the brain functions the more we can help people with all kinds of mental illness.”
So while the new discovery won’t motivate you to turn you from couch potato into a fitness star, it will lead the way to hopefully discovering better treatment for a variety of mental illnesses, including depression.