Yoga as therapy for mental illness?: image via yogatrends.orgDuke University researchers have conducted a major review of the psychiatric literature that measures the effects of yoga as a treatment for a range of mental disorders in clinical trials. Here's how they went about their research, their results, and the implications for the future treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders.
The team conducted bibliographic electronic searches of The Cochrane Central Register of Clinical Trials, MEDLINE, MBASE, and PsychINFO through April, 21011 and results were updated in June of 2011. Researchers used the keyword 'yoga' AND 'psychiatry' OR 'depression' OR 'anxiety' OR 'schizophrenia' OR 'cognition' OR 'memory' OR 'attention' AND 'randomized controlled trial' (RCT) to yield a total of 124 trials. Once exclusion criteria were applied, 16 trials remained as having met standards for the final review.
Four of the reviewed trials were conducted on the effects of yoga practice on depression, and the results supported "a potentially acute" benefit for the disorder. On the basis of three RCT's employing yoga practice in addition to drug therapy for schizophrenia, yoga had beneficial results. In children with ADHD and in adults with sleep complaints, yoga was also found to be an effective therapy. For those with cognitive disorders and eating disorders, the results were mixed. No RCTs were available for the remainer of the keywords sought.
Though this broad review of the research on yoga as a treatment method for psychiatric disorders is just that - broad - enough of the studies were strongly supportive of yoga therapy, even in conjunction with pharmacological treatments, to suggest the need for more RCTs with patients suffering from a variety of psychiatric disorders. Additionally, the authors add, "Biomarker and neuroimaging studies, those comparing yoga with standard pharmaco(logical) and psychotherapies, and studies of long-term efficacy are needed to fully translate the promise of yoga for enhancing mental health."
Sources: Frontiers via MedXpress