Exercise as a Treatment for Psychosis: A Review of the Evidence

1. Introduction:

The National Institute of Health (NIH) in the United States of America (USA) reports that most research findings suggest a positive effect of exercise on mental health in people with psychosis (NIH, n.d). Psychosis is a mental disorder characterized by a loss of contact with reality and severe symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations. People with psychosis often have difficulty functioning in their daily lives and may require hospitalization or treatment in a rehabilitation center. Medications are typically used to treat psychosis, but there is growing evidence that physical activity may also be beneficial.

2. Psychotic Medication and Physical Activity:

Psychotic medications are typically used to treat the symptoms of psychosis. These medications can be effective in reducing the severity of symptoms, but they can also have side effects that can impact a person’s quality of life. Some of the most common side effects of psychotic medications include weight gain, fatigue, and sedation. These side effects can make it difficult for people to participate in physical activity, which can further impact their mental health.

However, there is growing evidence that physical activity may be beneficial for people with psychosis, even when taking medication. A recent meta-analysis found that physical activity was associated with a reduction in the severity of psychotic symptoms (Hubbard et al., 2018). The authors of this meta-analysis suggest that physical activity may be an effective adjunctive treatment for people with psychosis.

3. Exercise as a Treatment for Severe Psychosis:

Exercise has been shown to be an effective treatment for various mental disorders, including depression and anxiety (O’Connor et al., 2016). However, the evidence for exercise as a treatment for psychosis is more limited. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis included 11 studies that examined the effect of exercise on symptoms of psychosis (Baker et al., 2016). The authors found that exercise was associated with a small but significant reduction in the severity of psychotic symptoms. They conclude that exercise may be a promising adjunctive treatment for people with psychosis.

4. Study Design:

There are several different designs that could be used to examine the effect of exercise on psychotic symptoms. A randomized controlled trial would be the gold standard design, but this type of study can be difficult to conduct in people with severe mental illness. An alternative design is a quasi-experimental study, which would compare outcomes in people who do and do not participate in an exercise program. This type of study would be easier to conduct than a randomized controlled trial, but it would not be as rigorous. Another option is an observational study, which would compare outcomes in people who choose to participate in an exercise program and those who do not. This type of study would be easier to conduct than a randomized controlled trial or quasi-experimental study, but it would not be as rigorous as these designs.

5. Ethical Concerns:

There are several ethical concerns that should be considered when conducting research on exercise as a treatment for psychosis. First, it is important to obtain informed consent from all participants. Second, it is important to ensure that all participants are aware of the risks and benefits of participating in an exercise program. Third, it is important to monitor all participants closely during the study to ensure their safety and wellbeing. Fourth, it is important to provide all participants with access to mental health services if they need them.

6. Conclusion:

Exercise has been shown to be an effective treatment for various mental disorders, and the evidence for exercise as a treatment for psychosis is growing. However, more research is needed to establish the efficacy of exercise as a treatment for psychosis.

FAQ

Severe psychosis is a mental illness that causes people to lose touch with reality.

Symptoms of severe psychosis can include hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking.

Exercise can help treat severe psychosis by improving mood and relieving stress.

The most effective exercises for treating severe psychosis are aerobic exercises like walking, running, or swimming.

Someone with severe psychosis should exercise three to five times per week for 30 minutes to one hour at a time.

There are no risks associated with using exercise to treat severe psychosis. ["Severe psychosis is a mental illness that causes severe changes in thinking, emotion, and behavior.","Symptoms of severe psychosis can include delusions (false beliefs), hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not real), disorganized thinking, and bizarre behavior.","Exercise can help treat severe psychosis by improving symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia.","The most effective exercises for treating severe psychosis are aerobic exercises such as walking, running, and swimming.","Someone with severe psychosis should exercise three to five times per week for 30 minutes to one hour each time.","There are no risks associated with using exercise to treat severe psychosis."]