Frequency of use and perceived helpfulness of wellness strategies for bipolar and unipolar depression

BACKGROUND: The majority of research in mood disorders has focused on pharmacologic, psychotherapeutic, and brain stimulation interven­tions. Conversely, the utility of less structured interventions, such as lifestyle modifications or wellness strategies, has remained understudied. The objective of the current study is to evaluate the frequency of use and perceived helpfulness of wellness strategies for bipolar and unipolar depression.

METHODS: The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) con­ducted an online survey asking participants about the use and helpfulness of wellness strategies.

RESULTS: In total, 896 participants completed the survey (unipolar depres­sion [n = 447] and bipolar depression [n = 449]). Wellness strategies were used by 62% and 59% of individuals with bipolar and unipolar depres­sion, respectively. Listening to music, socializing, and adequate sleep were commonly reported wellness strategies. The majority of partici­pants reported wellness strategies to be helpful. Use of wellness strate­gies was associated with greater overall perceived treatment effectiveness (P < .0001) and greater subjective helpfulness of medications (P = .039), psychotherapy (P < .0001), and peer support groups (P < .0001).

CONCLUSIONS: Wellness strategies were commonly used by the majority of respondents. These strategies were subjectively helpful for most respon­dents and were associated with greater overall treatment effectiveness and increased helpfulness of medications, psychotherapy, and peer support groups. As such, wellness strategies should be considered while developing a holistic treatment plan for depression. Further research is needed to evalu­ate the antidepressant effects of specific wellness strategies to better under­stand the role of these interventions in the management of depression.

Purchase this article:


For unlimited access to all issues and articles: