Anti-depressant drugs are considered a primary therapy for major depression, but the medicines fail to fully work for over fifty percent of Americans who use them. Now, investigators recommend a way to increase their effectiveness: breathing-based yoga.
According to recent study presented in Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, investigators show how 8 weeks of Sudarshan Kriya yoga enhanced symptoms of anxiety and depression in sufferers with major depressive disorder (MDD) who were not reacting to antidepressants medication.
Symptoms of depression may consist of persistent sadness, feelings of hopelessness, negativity, guiltiness or worthlessness, tiredness, loss of interest in regular activities, decreased appetite, weight loss, and insomnia.
A person is generally diagnosed with MDD if they experience at the very least 5 of these symptoms for minimum 2 weeks, and such depressive episodes may generally take place after a traumatic event, like as the death of a loved one or a medical condition.
Antidepressants – like as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – are usually the first choice when it comes to treatment for MDD, but sufferers do not generally respond to the medicines. While additional drugs may be provided, this can result in unpleasant side effects that lead to sufferers to stop therapy completely, making relapses more likely.
Now, Dr. Anup Sharma, a neuropsychiatry research fellow at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania’s, and team recommend Sudarshan Kriya yoga may be an useful, low-cost, non-drug approach to assist sufferers who do not respond to antidepressant drugs.
Examining how yoga might benefit sufferers with MDD
Sudarshan Kriya yoga is a meditation approach that concentrates on rhythmic breathing exercises, with the goal of putting the mind into a deep, restful state.
Sudarshan Kriya yoga provides individuals an active method to experience a deep meditation state that’s simple to learn and incorporate in different settings.
While earlier study has recommended Sudarshan Kriya yoga to be advantageous for sufferers with MDD, Dr. Sharma and study team say there have been no clinical studies evaluating whether the practice is advantageous in out-patient settings.
What is more, the investigators note that there has been a insufficient well designed studies examining the possible advantages of yoga for depression, despite a considerable increase in the number of people taking up the practice.
For their research, the team registered 25 adults who had been diagnosed with MDD. All sufferers had been taking anti-depressants for minimum 8 weeks but had seen no considerable improvement in symptoms.
Individuals were randomized into two groups (Sudarshan Kriya yoga group or a “waitlist” group) for 8 weeks:
Individuals in the yoga group were needed to take part in a six session program in the initial week, which included Sudarshan Kriya yoga exercises, yoga postures, sitting medication, and stress education. For the leftover 7 weeks, individuals were requested to be present a weekly once Sudarshan Kriya yoga followup session, along with complete a practice session at home.
Individuals in the waitlist group which are acting as the control group – were offered the yoga intervention at the end of the 8 weeks. Both groups carried on with their antidepressant therapy while in the study period.
Yoga enhanced symptoms of anxiety, depression
At study baseline and after the 8 weeks, individuals’ symptoms of anxiety and depression were assessed using the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS-17). Individuals’ mean score at baseline was 22.0, which represents severe depression.
After the 8-week study period, individuals in the Sudarshan Kriya yoga group saw their HDRS-17 score improve by an average of 10.27 points, while the control group demonstrated no significant enhancement.
As a secondary measure, the investigators monitored individuals’ anxiety and depression symptoms using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI).
Again, the control group demonstrated no major improvement over the 8 weeks, while the Sudarshan Kriya yoga group demonstrated an average 15.48 point improvement in BDI score and a 5.19 point improvement in BAI score.
Based on their outcomes, Dr. Sharma and team say this yoga may be a promising add-on treatment for individuals with MDD for whom antidepressants are ineffective.
Commenting on their research Dr. Anup Sharma said,
“With such a large number of individuals who do not fully respond to antidepressants, it is essential we discover new paths that work best for every individual to beat their depression. Here, we have a promising, lower cost treatment that could possibly serve as an effective, non drug approach for sufferers battling this condition.”