- Around 40% of the depressed individuals treated with antidepressats do not achieve full remission.
- Using alternate means like yoga and deep breathing have shown to significantly reduce symptoms associated with depression.
- Interventions using these alternate means also has the additional advantage of avoiding unnecessary drug side effects and interactions.
People who suffer from depression should participate in yoga and deep (coherent) breathing classes at least twice weekly plus practice at home to receive a significant reduction in their symptoms.
The study provides preliminary support for the use of yoga-based interventions as an alternative or supplement to pharmacologic treatments for depression.
‘Yoga and breathing intervention can be used in people suffering from major depressive disorder, who are not on antidepressants, and also in those on a stable dose of antidepressants, but without remission.’
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a highly prevalent common, recurrent, chronic and disabling condition.
It is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44.3 years that is responsible for more years lost to disability than any other disease.
It affects more than 15 million American adults, or about 6.7% of the population age 18 and older.
It is more prevalent in women than in men.
Around 40% of individuals with MDD who are treated with antidepressant medications, do not achieve full remission.
For the study, individuals with MDD were randomized to two groups:
- high dose group with three 90-minute classes a week along with home practice
- low dose group with two 90-minute classes a week, plus home practice
The participants practiced lyengar yoga that emphasizes on detail, precision and alignment in the performance of posture and breath control.
In both groups, participants experienced significant decreases in their depressive symptoms and no significant differences in compliance. A greater number of subjects in the high dose group had less depressive symptoms.
Attending yoga class twice a week along with home practice may constitute a less burdensome but still effective way to gain the mood benefits from the intervention.
"This study supports the use of a yoga and coherent breathing intervention in major depressive disorder in people who are not on antidepressants and in those who have been on a stable dose of antidepressants and have not achieved a resolution of their symptoms," explained corresponding author Chris Streeter, MD, associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at Boston University School of Medicine and a psychiatrist at Boston Medical Center.
Compared with mood altering medications, this kind of intervention has a definite advantages of avoiding additional drug side effects and drug interactions.
"While most pharmacologic treatment for depression target monoamine systems, such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, this intervention targets the parasympathetic and gamma aminobutyric acid system and provides a new avenue for treatment." Streeter said.
The findings appear in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
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