Lifestyle Medicine for the Prevention and Treatment of Depression

  • Jerome Sarris
  • Adrienne O’NeilEmail author


There is compelling evidence that modifiable lifestyle factors contribute to the pathogenesis of depression. However, lifestyle targets are frequently not considered for contemporary depression treatment. Rather, medication and psychological intervention remain first-line treatments. This chapter will outline lifestyle factors that can contribute to the pathogenesis of depression, with these lifestyle elements being potentially modifiable via a prescriptive approach. We will then explore the evidence for their clinical application, firstly those for which there is sound evidentiary support (diet, physical activity and exercise, mindfulness meditation, management of recreational substance misuse, sleep, and social interaction) and secondly, lifestyle and environmental elements that have a more nascent evidence base (greenspace and pollutant exposure, hobbies and relaxation, and animal/pet therapy). Considerations for future directions are also outlined.


Lifestyle Treatment Depression Prevention Exercise Alcohol Diet Smoking 



Body Mass Index


Noncommunicable diseases


Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety


Physical activity


Prefrontal cortex


Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea


Randomized controlled trials


Type-2 diabetes




Understanding the Prognostic Benefits of Exercise and Antidepressant Therapy


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry & The Melbourne ClinicUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Human PsychopharmacologySwinburne University of TechnologyHawthornAustralia
  3. 3.IMPACT Strategic Research CentreDeakin UniversityGeelongAustralia

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