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Yoga and mental health

Yoga can be prescribed as therapy, along with medication and psychotherapy, for treating various mental disorders

Research in the past decade has produced enough evidence to prove that yoga is beneficial as an add-on treatment for various types of mental illnesses. Patrecia

Preetham from White Swan Foundation spoke to Dr Shivarama Varambally, additional professor of psychiatry at NIMHANS. Here are the edited excerpts.

How is yoga beneficial for treating mental illness?

For the past few years, we have done quite a bit of work in this area. For people with fairly severe mental illness, yoga can be quite beneficial as an add-on to the medicines that they are already taking, but in a few cases, yoga can be a medicine in itself. We have had people who refused to take medication and were looking for alternative methods of treatment. With such people, we have had a good success rate with yoga as a sole treatment option. The percentage of such people though, is on the lower side. Most people practice yoga as an add-on treatment to their existing treatment strategies such as medication, psychotherapy and other treatments.

Yoga has produced significant benefits as a treatment in a few disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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