Table 1

Lifestyle medicine for depression
Lifestyle element Evidence level Cost Comment
Diet CS, LO Moderate expense Relationship found between dietary quality and depression; RCTs now required to validate
PA/Exercise CS*, LO*, CTs Inexpensive Strong evidence of efficacy for improving mood
Recreation OB, CTs Variable expense No studies exploring recreational activities for depression (aside from music therapy)
Relaxation & meditative techniques CTs Inexpensive Evidence supports relaxation techniques (especially with a mindfulness component) in improving mood
Sleep CS, LO, CTs No expense Strong causal link between sleep amount and quality, and depression risk
Environment CS, LO, CTs Potentially not adjustable Association between reduction of pollution and mood; CTs showing NAT improves mood
Socialization CS, LO No expense Strong association between social support/networks and mental health
Animal/Pet therapy CS, CTs Moderate expense Studies support the psychological benefits of animals and pets
Vices (smoking, alcohol) CS, LO Potential to save money Association between smoking and alcohol, and depressed mood

CS = Cross-sectional, OB = Observational Study, LO = Longitudinal, CTs - Clinical Trials, NAT = Nature-Assisted Therapy, PA = Physical Activity, Data assessing the relationship between exercise and depression has revealed mixed outcomes.

*Data assessing the relationship between exercise and depression has revealed mixed outcomes.

Sarris et al.

Sarris et al. BMC Psychiatry 2014 14:107   doi:10.1186/1471-244X-14-107

Open Data