Behere RV, Arasappa R, Jagannathan A, Varambally S, Venkatasubramanian G, Thirthalli J, Subbakrishna DK, Nagendra HR, Gangadhar BN. Effect of yoga therapy on facial emotion recognition deficits, symptoms and functioning in patients with schizophrenia.
Objective: Facial emotion recognition deficits have been consistently demonstrated in schizophrenia and can impair socio-occupational functioning in these patients. Treatments to improve these deficits in antipsychotic-stabilized patients have not been well studied. Yoga therapy has been described to improve functioning in various domains in schizophrenia; however, its effect on FERD is not known.
Method: Antipsychotic-stabilized patients randomized to receive Yoga (n = 27), Exercise (n = 17) or Waitlist group (n = 22) were assessed at baseline, 2nd month, and 4th month of follow-up by raters blind to group status. Assessments included Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), Socio-Occupational Functioning Scale (SOFS), and Tool for Recognition of Emotions in Neuropsychiatric DisorderS (TRENDS).
Results: There was a significant positive correlation between baseline FERD and socio-occupational functioning (r = 0.3, P = 0.01). Paired samples t test showed significant improvement in positive and negative symptoms, socio-occupational functioning and performance on TRENDS (P < 0.05) in the Yoga group, but not in the other two groups. Maximum improvement occurred at the end of 2 months, and improvement in positive and negative symptoms persisted at the end of 4 months.
Conclusion: Yoga therapy can be a useful add-on treatment to improve psychopathology, FERD, and socio-occupational functioning in antipsychotic-stabilized patients with schizophrenia.