When it comes to depression treatments, most mental health professionals opt for psychotherapy, medication, or a mix of both.
However, in recent years, there has been a serious debate regarding the use of medication for depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. As a result, many healthcare professionals have started to look for treatment options that could successfully replace drug therapy.
According to a recent article posted by theguardian.com, swimming in cold water may be a viable alternative.
But before we get to that, let’s go over a few facts & statistics about depression.
What is depression?
In a nutshell, depression is a mood disorder characterized by persistent sadness, pessimism, feelings of guilt and helplessness. As well as loss of interest in pleasurable activities, fatigue, changes in appetite, irritability, and low self-esteem.
For teens, depression can result in a series of negative consequences that include social isolation, poor academic performance, alcohol consumption, and substance abuse.
According to the World Health Organization, over 300 million people are living with depression worldwide.
Depression has recently become the #1 cause of disability, generating unimaginable social and economic costs.
Considering these worrying statistics, researchers are continually searching for ways to help people manage and prevent this condition.
Novel depression treatments for teens
One controversial procedure that could potentially replace drug therapy is cold water swimming.
This approach has been used by Christoffer van Tulleken, doctor and researcher at University College London, on a 24-year-old woman with depression named Sarah.
After giving birth, Sarah wanted to get off meds and find an alternative way to keep her depression in check. Under Van Tulleken’s supervision, she began taking weekly cold-water swims while gradually reducing her doses of medication.
Based on a significant reduction in symptoms (in the absence of medication), Van Tulleken published a case report in the British Medical Journal, highlighting the benefits of this novel approach.
Since the author tested this approach on a single person, further research is needed before experts can add cold water swimming to the list of viable depression treatments. Shirley Reynolds, clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Reading, points out, the positive outcomes of this technique “could be a natural recovery or response to placebo.”
If you are considering using cold water swimming to help your teen overcome depression, make sure to consult a healthcare professional first.
To learn more about depression treatments, click here.