Summary: Engaging in an exercise program reduced suicidal thoughts and actions in patients with mental and physical health issues who previously had suicidal thoughts.
Source: University of Ottawa
A new study from the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine found that patients with mental or physical illnesses were able to successfully adhere to exercise regimens despite prior thought, leading to a decrease suicide attempts.
The results cast doubt on the misconception that patients with mental or physical illness are not motivated to participate in an exercise regimen, which has similar efficacy to antidepressants and cognitive behavioral therapy in the treatment of depression. Its effect on suicidal behaviors, however, was unclear.
“This misconception led primary care providers to under-prescribe exercise, which led to further deterioration in patients’ mental and physical health,” says psychiatry resident and lead author Dr. Nicholas Fabiano. study with medical student Arnav Gupta.
“The results of this study ‘disprove’ this belief, as exercise was well tolerated in people with mental or physical illness. Therefore, providers should not be afraid to prescribe exercise for these patients.
Under the supervision of Dr. Marco Solmi and Dr. Jess Feidorowicz from the Department of Psychiatry, Fabiano and Gupta evaluated 17 randomized controlled trials with over 1,000 participants to derive their conclusions.
About this exercise and mental health research news
Author: Paul Logothetis
Source: University of Ottawa
Contact: Paul Logothetis – University of Ottawa
Picture: Image is in public domain
Original research: Free access.
“The effect of exercise on suicidal behavior: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials” by Nicholas Fabiano et al. Affective Disorders Diary
The effect of exercise on suicidal behavior: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
Although exercise can have a positive impact on people with mental illnesses or other medical conditions, there is a lack of understanding of how it influences suicidal ideation or risk.
We conducted a PRISMA 2020-compliant systematic review by searching MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane, and PsycINFO from inception to June 21, 2022. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of exercise and suicidal ideation in subjects with mental or physical disorders were included. A random-effects meta-analysis was performed. The primary endpoint was suicidal ideation. We assessed studies for bias with the risk of bias 2 tool.
We identified 17 RCTs involving 1021 participants. Depression was the most included condition (71%, k = 12). The mean follow-up was 10.0 weeks (SD = 5.2). Post-intervention suicidal ideation (SMD = -1.09, CI -3.08–0.90, p= 0.20, k = 5) was not significantly different between exercise and control groups. Suicide attempts were significantly reduced in participants randomized to exercise compared to inactive controls (OR = 0.23, CI 0.09–0.67, p =0.04, k=2). Fourteen studies (82%) were at high risk of bias.
This meta-analysis is limited by the few, underpowered and heterogeneous studies.
Overall, our meta-analysis did not find a significant decrease in suicidal ideation or mortality between the exercise and control groups. However, exercise significantly reduced suicide attempts. The results should be considered preliminary, and more and larger studies assessing suicidality in RCT test exercises are needed.