Yoga an effective alternate treatment for anxiety disorder

August 24, 2020
Yoga an effective alternate treatment for anxiety disorder

Generalised anxiety disorder currently affects an estimated 6.8 million Americans – it is characterised by chronic nervousness or worry, and many have sought to treat the condition without resorting to medications. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is considered the gold standard form of structured treatment for this disorder, but a new study at the Grossman School of Medicine, NYU Langone Health, US, has found that yoga can also help patients, more than any standard stress management programme.

Dr. Naomi M. Simon, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health, said, “Our findings demonstrate that yoga, which is safe and widely available, can improve symptoms for some people with this disorder and could be a valuable tool in an overall treatment plan.”

The NYU researchers randomly assigned at least 225 men and women with generalised anxiety disorder to either CBT, Kundalini yoga, or stress-management education for 12 weeks, with 20 minutes of daily home practices as well. The different groups received various lectures about psychoeducation, relaxation techniques, and were made to listen to other educational material about stress, nutrition, and lifestyle.

At the end of the study, both CBT and yoga were found to be significantly more effective for anxiety than stress management. Specifically, 71% and 54% of those treated with CBT and practiced yoga, respectively, met response criteria for meaningfully improved symptoms, compared to 33% in the stress-education group.

According to Dr. Simon, future research should aim to better personalise treatment recommendations for generalised anxiety disorder: “We need more options to treat anxiety because different people will respond to different interventions, and having more options can help overcome barriers to care and increase the likelihood that people with anxiety will be willing to engage in evidence-based care.”


Category: Features, Wellness and Complementary Therapies

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