Breathing-focused Yoga as Augmentation for Unipolar and Bipolar Depression: A Randomized Controlled Trial: Le yoga axé sur la respiration comme traitement d'appoint pour la dépression unipolaire et bipolaire: Un essai randomisé contrôlé.
Can J Psychiatry. 2020 Jul 17:706743720940535. Epub 2020 Jul 17. PMID: 32677851
Arun V Ravindran
OBJECTIVE: Patients with depression frequently experience persistent residual symptoms even with optimal interventions. These patients often use complementary treatments, including yoga, as a preferred alternative or adjunctive treatment. There is evidence for the benefit of yoga for depression, but this has not been rigorously evaluated, particularly in bipolar depression. We aimed to determine the feasibility and benefit of manualized breathing-focused yoga in comparison to psychoeducation as augmentation to pharmacotherapy for improving residual symptoms of depression in unipolar and bipolar patients.
METHODS: Using a randomized single-blind crossover design, 72 outpatients with unipolar or bipolar depression were augmented with the two 8-week interventions at separate times, as add-ons to current first-line antidepressants and mood stabilizers. The primary outcome measure was the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). Due to the high dropout of participants after crossover at Week 8, analysis focused on between-group comparisons of yoga and psychoeducation during the initial 8 weeks of the study.
RESULTS: There was a significant decline in depressive symptoms, as measured by the MADRS, following 8 weeks of yoga. However, there was no significant difference in MADRS ratings between intervention groups. Similar improvements in self-rated depressive symptoms and well-being were also observed across time.
CONCLUSIONS: Both yoga and psychoeducation may improve residual symptoms of unipolar and bipolar depression as add-on to medications. In-class group sessions and long study durations may reduce feasibility for this population. Larger trials with parallel group design and shorter duration may be more feasible.