Exercise Treatments for Psychosis: A Review.

Author: Mittal VA1,2,3,4, Vargas T1, Osborne KJ1, Dean D5,6, Gupta T5, Ristanovic I1, Hooker CI7, Shankman SA8
1Northwestern University, Department of Psychology, Evanston, IL, USA.
2Northwestern University, Department of Psychiatry, Chicago IL, USA.
3Northwestern University, Institute for Policy Research, Evanston, IL, USA.
4Northwestern University, Department of Medical Social Sciences, Chicago, IL, USA.
5University of Colorado Boulder, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Boulder, CO, USA.
6University of Colorado Boulder, Center for Neuroscience, Boulder, CO, USA.
7Rush University Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry, Chicago IL, USA.
8University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Psychology, Chicago IL, USA.
Conference/Journal: Curr Treat Options Psychiatry.
Date published: 2017 Jun
Other: Volume ID: 4 , Issue ID: 2 , Pages: 152-166 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1007/s40501-017-0112-2. Epub 2017 Apr 18. , Word Count: 248

Schizophrenia is a devastating mental illness that has profound effects on a person's health and quality of life. Exercise represents a promising new treatment option that may supplement current psychosocial and pharmacological interventions for psychosis. A large body of work suggests that exercise can improve cardio-metabolic and health behavior and facilitate neurogenesis in areas of the brain that are notably impacted by psychosis. Recent efforts to incorporate exercise as either stand-alone or adjunctive treatment for individuals with schizophrenia range from yoga and light stretching to moderately intense walking, bike riding, or team sports. These interventions suggest that moderately intense exercise may be beneficial for improving both positive and negative symptomatology, cognition and functioning. Indeed, exercise may be beneficial for decreasing risk factors for a wide range of health problems often observed in patients with schizophrenia, including weight gain and metabolic syndrome as well as tobacco and substance use. Given the positive results from interventions in schizophrenia patients, there is an impetus for incorporating exercise in the early stages of the disorder. Notably, individuals at ultrahigh risk (UHR) for psychosis report more sedentary behavior and perceive less benefit from exercise; interventions prior to the onset of the disorder may be helpful for increasing health behaviors, perhaps delaying or preventing the onset of psychosis. Taken together, for individuals with psychosis, exercise may provide holistic benefits for the neural to the social impairments.

KEYWORDS: Exercise; Neurogenesis; Psychosis; Schizophrenia; Treatment

PMID: 29034144 PMCID: PMC5636011 [Available on 2018-06-01] DOI: 10.1007/s40501-017-0112-2