Analyzing the Effects of Exercising in Patients with Anxiety and Stress-Related Disorders

Anksiyete ve Stresle İlişkili Bozuklukları Olan Hastalarda Egzersizin Etkilerinin İncelenmesi

Anxiety disorders (AD), such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder (PD) or phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are psychiatric disorders that affect functionality in every part of the society and require treatment.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) and various forms of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are the preliminary treatment methods for people with anxiety/stress disorder. Nevertheless, approximately one-third of the patients do not respond to SSRI and CBT, or the response given would not be effective enough. Moreover, the availability of these treatment options is low in developing countries. Putting off the treatment of a disease causes a malignant prognosis and more established symptoms.

Exercising could be an alternative or complementary method for patients with anxiety disorder (AD), who do not wish to start any medication or psychotherapy, in regions where current treatment sources are limited. A systematic analysis and meta-analysis were conducted to analyze the benefits of exercising in individuals with anxiety and/or stress-related disorders. There are evidences showing that exercising is capable of healing the symptoms of anxiety even in people with no anxiety disorders, including those with general chronic disorders. The data show that exercising is effective in healing the symptoms of anxiety in people currently diagnosed with anxiety and/or stress-related disorders. It is shown that those who exercise can be more effective in decreasing the symptoms of anxiety compared to the control group (those who do not exercise).

Considering the wider effects that it has over the cardiovascular health, exercising can be regarded as a significant treatment option for individuals with anxiety/stress disorder.

With the novel COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in many psychological problems, including anxiety and depression. It is possible to observe an increase in the symptoms of anxiety upon the alienation from daily routines and a state of uncertainty in this period of time, in which the majority of the people try to protect the community health by staying at home. Mental health workers also recommend exercising in order to diminish the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health.

REFERENCES:
– Stubbs, B., Vancampfort, D., Rosenbaum, S., Firth, J., Cosco, T., Veronese, N., … Schuch, F. B. (2017). An examination of the anxiolytic effects of exercise for people with anxiety and stress-related disorders: A meta-analysis. Psychiatry Research, 249, 102–108. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2016.12.020
Yeni Koronavirus Hastalığının Duygusal Etkisi

Prof. Dr. Kemal Arıkan
Psychiatrist