Ten years of research conducted by NIMHANS (National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences) recently revealed that yoga is equivalent to conventional medicines when it comes to treating the alcoholics, mentally depressed and schizophrenic patients.
Motivated by these results, NIMHANS has already employed yoga instructors for such patients. The research was carried out for three main disorders; alcoholism, depression and schizophrenia. The positive results revealed that yoga helped those with mental illness to cope through their situation.
About 45 patients suffering from depression were divided into three batches of fifteen each. While one batch was taught Sudarshan Kriya by yoga instructors from the Art of Living Foundation, the other two batches were administered electro-convulsive therapy and drugs, respectively.
As explained by Dr.Gangadhar of Psychiatry department in NIMHANS, the results clearly indicated that Sudharshan Kriya (both slow and fast breathing) was as good as moderns drugs for treatment of major depression, and that, including both slow and fast breathing was better than the slow breathing version alone. Patients who practiced Sudharshan Kriya regularly had a tremendous decline in their cortisol (a hormone in blood associated to stress) levels, and the electric potential of the brain in performing a cognitive task was much better after regular practice of this yogasana.
Similarly, the study conducted on sixty alcoholics, thirty of whom performed Sudarshan Kriya, while the other half did nothing, revealed that the group that practiced the asana regularly, had reduced levels of stress hormones such as Cortisol and Adenocorticotropic(ACTH) and had simultaneous decrease in depression levels.