Exercise Reduces Psychosis Symptoms In Young People

Personalized exercise routines may reduce first-episode psychosis symptoms in young people, according to a new study by the University of Manchester. At the completion of the 10-week study, participants experienced a 27 percent reduction in psychiatric symptoms compared with the control group.

Participants aged 18-35 who had previously been referred to mental health facilities for treatment engaged in exercise regimens at local leisure centers. Along with experiencing less psychiatric symptoms, the study also reported improved brain functions and minor weight loss.

“Establishing an exercise regime for people with psychosis is likely to be much more effective when they are younger and in the earliest stages of treatment,” said Joseph Firth, lead author of the study. “Getting people into a routine early on also helps set habits for life, which can make a huge difference to their long-term physical and mental health.”

Exercise as an alternative

The study claims that exercise is a cost-effective and viable alternative to typical treatments such as antipsychotics, which often induce weight-gain. Because the long-term expectations for young people with first-episode psychosis are often poor – including difficulty holding a steady job, high relapse rates and premature death – a personalized exercise routine could be a practical method for reducing psychotic symptoms.

“By reaching people early on, exercise can provide a healthy and empowering add-on treatment for young people with psychosis,” Firth added. “This could massively improve their social functioning and mental health, hopefully preventing long-term disability from ever arising.”

Source: University of Manchester

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