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Yoga for the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Depression, and Substance Abuse: A Review of the Clinical Effectiveness and Guidelines

Last updated: June 22, 2015
Project Number: RC0670-000
Product Line: Rapid Response
Research Type: Devices and Systems
Report Type: Summary with Critical Appraisal
Result type: Report

Question

  1. What is the clinical effectiveness of yoga as an intervention for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and substance abuse?
  2. What are the evidence-based guidelines for the use of yoga as an intervention for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and substance abuse?

Key Message

There is evidence to suggest that yoga may be beneficial as a monotherapy or adjunctive therapy for treating depression. The effectiveness of yoga for treating PTSD is unclear. One observational study found that a SKY yoga training course was effective in treating patients with GAD in an outpatient setting. Three RCTs of low methodological quality suggested that patients with substance abuse improved with respect to some symptoms with yoga. Five evidence based guideline documents considered the use of yoga in clinical practice. Three suggested that yoga may be useful as an adjunctive treatment for treating major depressive disorder (MDD), PTSD and GAD, if available.