The Influence of Physiotherapy on Health-Related Quality of Life in Women with Depression
Depressive disorders are common illnesses associated with long duration of episodes, high rates of chronicity, relapse, and recurrence. Physical activity is increasingly being cited as an alternativeto more traditional drug treatments for treating depression. The aim of research was to evaluate the influence of physiotherapy on quality of life of persons with depression. 32 women (age 30–59 yr), having moderate (F 32) and severe (F 33) depression, participated in the research. All subjects got medications and underwent psychotherapy. The subjects were divided into two groups: the experimental group – 16 patients (age 44.9 ± 2.3 yr), for whom beside medication and psychotherapy, the three weeks duration physiotherapy program was additionally applied, and the control group consisted of 16 patients (age 43.4 ± 2.6 yr), for whom the physiotherapy was not applied. Physiotherapy program consisted of 40 minutes of vigorous and moderate intensity aerobic exercises three times a week and 40 minutes of low intensity muscle strengthening exercises with dumbbells, muscle stretching, relaxation breathing exercises twice a week. The type of exercises was changed every second day. At the beginning and at the end of the research the subjects completed Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HAD). The health-related quality of life was assessed using the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) – a self-administered questionnaire in which lower scores are indicative of greater impairment. After three weeks of treatment the anxiety and depression significantly decreased in both groups. The health-related quality of life in women of the experimental group significantly improved in all domains. The quality of life of the controls significantly improved in almost all domains, except role limitations due to physical and emotional problems. The comparison of the results between groups showed that the symptoms of anxiety and depression in women for whom the physiotherapy was applied have decreased, and the quality of life have improved significantly more (p < 0.05) than for the patients who were treated by medication and psychotherapy only. Physiotherapy – 40 min five times a week performed program of exercises – is effective in decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety, and improving the quality of life in women with depression.
Keywords: depression, anxiety, physiotherapy, health-related quality of life.