Yoga a boon for drug addicts:  scientific study at AIIMS
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 Yoga can help improve the quality of life of drug users and also reduce the frequency of their drug use, says a recent study conducted by the Delhi-based AIIMS on behalf of the Ayush Ministry. The study used Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) and meditation as a treatment along with the regular treatment among a group of drug addicts specially heroin users. SKY consists of a specific sequence of varying breathing rates separated by brief periods of normal breathing. Eighty-four heroin users undergoing treatment at a community-based clinic of National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) in east Delhi participated in the study, which concluded at AIIMS here. The study — which was a randomised one with control groups — showed that yoga intervention produced a significant change in the physical, social relationship and environmental domains of quality of life, said a statement from the Ministry. It also reduced the frequency of drug use as evident by the urine screening results as compared to the control group that was on treatment as usual. The control group was given standard treatment -- pharmacotherapy (opioid substitution therapy) and psychosocial intervention -- whereas the study groups, besides standard therapy, were clubbed with the SKY programme over three days in a workshop mode. They were also encouraged to practice the technique at home every day and advised to further participate in a weekly follow-up SKY programme. “The standard screening measure was adopted (urine screening) and it was observed that there was higher percentage of relief seen in the group of users who were treated with standard treatment along with SKY and meditation in comparison to control group of heroin users,” the statement said. “Study findings also suggested that the yoga intervention can be used as an adjunct to standard intervention to improve the quality of the life of drug users and also to further reduce the frequency of their drug use,” it added. More studies need to be carried out in different settings with a larger sample size to replicate the findings of this study, it said.
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