Health Watch - Substance Abuse: Exercise as Treatment

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This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about some of the health issues related to substance abuse. Addiction is difficult to treat, so doctors are looking for new treatment approaches. One approach could include exercise.

Doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center are studying whether exercise can be effective in treating addiction when it’s combined with other treatment approaches. Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, a UT Southwestern psychiatrist, says exercise may provide an alternative activity for drug users while also improving their health and quality of life. Previous studies have found that exercise can be beneficial in treating depression.

The study will follow two groups of patients in drug treatment centers. One group will have regular vigorous exercise sessions in addition to their other treatment, while the other group will have sessions where they receive health information. Urine tests will determine whether patients are using drugs. Exercise is an inexpensive and easy treatment, so if it proves effective, it could open up new ways to treat addiction.

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November 2010


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