According to Georgia State University, a study in the International Journal of Yoga Therapy has shown that those suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), could experience a reduction in symptoms by practicing yoga.
The research focused on the effects of yoga on three individuals with GAD and determined whether or not yoga could be a helpful alternative or additional treatment option beyond medication and traditional therapy.
“When people have this diagnosis, they worry a lot-uncontrollably-about the future, which causes physical symptoms like muscle tension and trouble sleeping, and their lives and their relationships are impaired because of it,” said Jessica Morgan Goodnight, former graduate student at Georgia State and lead author on the study.
“Psychotherapy usually works really well for anxiety disorders, but it doesn’t seem to work as well for Generalized Anxiety Disorder,” Goodnight said. This is where yoga can come in and bridge the gap between GAD and the lessening of symptoms.
Reducing Main Symptoms of GAD
The researchers found yoga tended to reduce worry, the main symptom of the disorder.
“Two participants showed decreases in daily worry ratings after they started yoga and reported less worry on a daily basis,” said Goodnight. “The third participant was steadily increasing worry before starting yoga, but the increasing trend ended and began leveling out after she started practicing yoga.”
The findings show yoga has some promise in helping people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder reduce their symptoms. The researchers say pilot studies like this pave the way for more conclusive research to be conducted in the future.
“It’s nice to provide options for people with mental health conditions to try to reduce their symptoms and increase the quality of their lives,” said Goodnight. “My research is a first step showing yoga could be an option for people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Jessica R. Morgan, Marlysa Sullivan, Akihiko Masuda, Erin Tully, Lindsey L. Cohen, Page L. Anderson. A Case Series on the Effects of Kripalu Yoga for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 2016; DOI: 10.17761/1531-2054.0.0.000