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Study: Volunteering Improves Mental Health

By August 30, 2013July 17th, 2019Uncategorized

These days more and more people are being diagnosed with mental health issues. One of the fastest-growing conditions is depression severe enough to require prescription drug treatments like Paxil or Effexor. However, a new study is showing that volunteering can improve a person’s mental health and help people live longer.

This study took the form of a systematic review and meta-analysis, and was led by researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School in England. They found that the people who volunteered reported lower levels of depression and an overall better quality of life in terms of their well-being. The results were then compared to numerous results from other trials and longitudinal cohort studies. The researchers also discovered that there was a 20 percent reduction in deaths for volunteers as opposed to those who didn’t volunteer.

Researchers believe the better quality of life among volunteers can be attributed to the positive emotions associated with volunteering, such as the feeling of giving something back to the community. That certainly sounds like a healthy way of preventing depression and other mental health conditions. And it is definitely better than taking prescription drugs that are associated with serious side effects. The rates of depression have increased dramatically over the years and the prescriptions being given to treat the condition have risen significantly as well to meet the demand. In fact, antidepressant medications are the most-prescribed medications on the market these days.

Some of the drugs used to treat depression include Paxil, which is an SSRI medication. Paxil is linked to increased episodes of violent and suicidal thoughts and behavior as well as birth defects in babies born to mothers who take Paxil while pregnant. Some of the birth defects linked to Paxil use include PPHN, spina bifida, neural tube defects and heart, lung and brain defects. These complications are why doctors are constantly looking for non-medicinal ways to help treat depression in women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant. This study may help shed some light on non-medicinal treatments for depression sufferers as well as offering a preventative measure for people who may be predisposed to suffer from depression.

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