Yoga may help people with bipolar disorder, reports Journal of Psychiatric Practice

September 17, 2014

September 17, 2014 - People with bipolar disorder who do yoga believe their yoga practice has significant mental health benefits, reports a survey study in the September Journal of Psychiatric Practice. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.

"Some individuals with bipolar disorder believe that yoga has had a significant positive impact on their life." according to the study by Dr Lisa A. Uebelacker of Butler Hospital and Brown University, Providence, R.I., and colleagues. But they note their survey shows that yoga is "not without risks"--including potential worsening of symptoms related to bipolar disorder.

Survey Suggests Benefits of Yoga for Bipolar Disorder

The researchers recruited 109 individuals who identified themselves as having bipolar disorder and as being yoga practitioners. Participants were asked to complete an online survey concerning their yoga practice and its impact on their mood disorder symptoms. Of 86 individuals with usable responses, 70 had positive results on a screening questionnaire for manic (or less-severe hypomanic) symptoms.

Participants reported practicing yoga for an average of six years; they attended a yoga class twice a week and practicing yoga at home three times per week, on average. Two-thirds of respondents said they practiced yoga for exercise/to improve flexibility and to reduce stress and anxiety.

Most participants believed that yoga had benefits for their mental health. Two-thirds said that yoga positively affected their depressive, manic, or hypomanic symptoms at least some of the time.

They also reported positive emotional effects of yoga, such as reduced anxiety and worry; positive cognitive effects, especially in terms of increased mindfulness; and positive physical effects, such as weight loss, increased energy, and improved sleep. Fifteen respondents said that yoga had been "significantly life-changing."

Some Report Adverse Effects of Yoga on Bipolar Symptoms

But about one-fourth of respondents reported some type of negative effects related to yoga. The most common negative effects were physical pain or injury. In addition, nine percent of respondents reported that yoga had negatively affected their bipolar disorder symptoms at some time.

Some gave examples of yoga practices that they believed increased agitation or manic symptoms, such as rapid/energetic breathing or heated yoga. Others said that yoga had at times led to increased depression or lethargy--for example, after very slow and meditative practice. At least one report raised concerns about possible heat intolerance during hot yoga in patients taking antipsychotic medications or lithium.

Yoga is an ancient Indian system of philosophy and practice. Over the course of a year, approximately five percent of U.S. adults in the United States practice yoga. Most practice hatha yoga, which involves training the body with the ultimate goal of physical and emotional self-transformation.

Dr Uebelacker and coauthors note important limitations of their internet survey study--particularly in that it was limited to people who identified themselves as having bipolar disorder, and relied on participant-reported effects of yoga. The researchers write, "Our results suggest that hatha yoga may be a powerful positive practice for some people with bipolar disorder but that it is not without risks and, like many treatments for bipolar disorder, should be used with care."

The next step is to undertake a pilot study of yoga as an adjunctive intervention for bipolar disorder. In the meantime, Dr Uebelacker and colleagues add, "We hope that patients (and their clinicians) may use the information we collected to decide whether to try community yoga for themselves, and if so, what potential risks to watch for."
-end-
Click here to read "Self-Reported Benefits and Risks of Yoga in Individuals with Bipolar Disorder."

About Journal of Psychiatric Practice

Journal of Psychiatric Practice®, a peer reviewed journal, publishes reports on new research, clinically applicable reviews, articles on treatment advances, and case studies, with the goal of providing practical and informative guidance for clinicians. Mental health professionals will want access to this journal¬--for sharpening their clinical skills, discovering the best in treatment, and navigating this rapidly changing field. John M. Oldham, MD, is the editor in chief and past president of the American Psychiatric Association.

About Wolters Kluwer Health

Wolters Kluwer Health is a leading global provider of information, business intelligence and point-of-care solutions for the healthcare industry. Serving more than 150 countries worldwide, clinicians rely on Wolters Kluwer Health's market leading information-enabled tools and software solutions throughout their professional careers from training to research to practice. Major brands include Health Language®, Lexicomp®, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Medicom®, Medknow, Ovid®, Pharmacy OneSource®, ProVation® Medical and UpToDate®.

Wolters Kluwer Health is part of Wolters Kluwer, a market-leading global information services company. Wolters Kluwer had 2013 annual revenues of €3.6 billion ($4.7 billion), employs approximately 19,000 people worldwide, and maintains operations in over 40 countries across Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and Latin America.maintains operations in over 40 countries across Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. Wolters Kluwer is headquartered in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands. Its shares are quoted on Euronext Amsterdam (WKL) and are included in the AEX and Euronext 100 indices. Wolters Kluwer has a sponsored Level 1 American Depositary Receipt program. The ADRs are traded on the over-the-counter market in the U.S. (WTKWY).

Follow our official Twitter handle: @WKHealth.

Wolters Kluwer Health

Related Mental Health Articles from Brightsurf:

Mental health strained by disaster
A new study found that suicide rates increase during all types of disasters -- including severe storms, floods, hurricanes and ice storms -- with the largest overall increase occurring two years after a disaster.

The mental health impact of pandemics for front line health care staff
New research shows the impact that pandemics have on the mental health of front-line health care staff.

World Mental Health Day -- CACTUS releases report of largest researcher mental health survey
On the occasion of 'World Mental Health Day' 2020, CACTUS, a global scientific communications company, has released a global survey on mental health, wellbeing and fulfilment in academia.

Mental illness, mental health care use among police officers
A survey study of Texas police officers examines how common mental illness and mental health care use are in a large urban department.

COVID-19 outbreak and mental health
The use of online platforms to guide effective consumption of information, facilitate social support and continue mental health care delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic is discussed in this Viewpoint.

COVID-19 may have consequences for mental health
The COVID-19 pandemic appears to be adversely affecting mental health among hospitalised patients, the healthcare professionals treating them and the general population.

Mental health outcomes among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia among health care workers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study.

Mental ill health 'substantial health concern' among police, finds international study
Mental health issues among police officers are a 'substantial health concern,' with around 1 in 4 potentially drinking at hazardous levels and around 1 in 7 meeting the criteria for post traumatic stress disorder and depression, finds a pooled data analysis of the available international evidence, published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Examining health insurance nondiscrimination policies with mental health among gender minority individuals
A large private health insurance database was used to examine the association between between health insurance nondiscrimination policies and mental health outcomes for gender minority individuals.

Mental health care for adolescents
Researchers examined changes over time in the kinds of mental health problems for which adolescents in the United States received care and where they got that care in this survey study with findings that should be interpreted within the context of several limitations including self-reported information.

Read More: Mental Health News and Mental Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.