Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.

Friday, November 21, 2003

How to get over depression while having stress of teaching 

Was one of the search terms that brought visitors to my blog. I don't know that I have any good answers for that myself. I've got my fiancée to give me support.

Once upon a time I had considered becoming a psychologist so I've done a bit more reading than most have on this sort of topic. One thing that I found (through a footnote in Listening to Prozac) was a study done at UCLA where they found that in treatment of OCD, cognitive behavioral therapy resulted in nearly identical changes to brain chemistry (as measured through PET scans) as did treatment through medication (fluoxetine).

With depression, studies have repeatedly shown that nearly all treatments are equally effective, whether its traditional psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, medication or even just talking. Another successful treatment was physical activity. A study done with college freshmen found that daily aerobic exercise was highly effective at reducing and preventing depression. This is probably a key thing for teachers as it's a career that tends to lead towards a sedentary lifestyle. It's hard to get the energy at the end of a day of teaching to go for a 30 minute walk in the evening, but it may well be a vital thing for our sanity.

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