Pros and cons of yoga for bipolar disorder
“There is nothing in the scientific literature about hatha yoga for patients with bipolar disorder,” says lead author of the study Lisa Uebelacker, an assistant professor of psychiatry. Hatha yoga is a practice that is familiar to many in the West. It includes breathing practices and meditations.
“We are interested in studying hatha yoga in bipolar disorder as an additional treatment method.” More than 70 people participated in the online survey. They were asked: “What impact does yoga have on your life?”
The vast majority of responses were positive, and about one in five respondents said that yoga had changed their lives. One even said: “Yoga saved my life. I would not be alive today if it were not for yoga.
”Twenty-nine other respondents stated that yoga reduces anxiety. Other benefits that have been mentioned are distraction from depressive thoughts. “There is clear evidence that yoga helps with bipolar disorder,” the researchers write. “It is amazing that some of our respondents clearly believed that yoga has a great positive effect on their lives.”
Throughout the study, there was also evidence that yoga can be problematic for some people with bipolar disorder, although such people were in the minority. On questions whether yoga had a negative impact, for example, five respondents named cases when, with fast or vigorous breathing, they felt excited.
Another said that he felt too relaxed after meditative practice: “I fell into a relaxed and numb condition. I was in bed for three days after that. ” And eleven respondents who practice yoga warned that there is a potential for physical injury or pain. Others believe that they became self-critical during yoga. The online survey is the first step in a research program that Uebelacker has been conducting for several years, studying how yoga works in uni polar depression. These results can lay the groundwork for a larger study that can rigorously determine the benefits and risks of yoga,
Uebelacker said. In many patients with bipolar disorder, symptoms persist for many decades, despite taking numerous medications. Current research is part of a broader program to determine how you can help people who have already undergone traditional therapy. “We are looking at alternative treatments to cope with the disease, so there are other options in addition to medication and psychotherapy,” said Uebelacker.
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