Abstract

It has been suggested that yoga may be an effective adjunct intervention in the management of substance use disorders (SUD). Additionally, women with SUD require different treatment approaches than men. The objective of this study was to critically evaluate the evidence for the effectiveness of yoga, specifically for women, as part of treatment for SUD. Nine electronic databases were searched from inception to January 2020. Randomized controlled trials (RCT) that evaluated any type of yoga, including yoga as a component of mindfulness-based treatment, against any type of control in individuals with any type of addiction were eligible. Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) Checklist and Statement, methodological quality was appraised using Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PE Dro) criteria. Ten RC Ts (eight mixed-gender and two female-focused) met the eligibility criteria. Most of these RCTs were small to medium-sized, with various methodological and analytical flaws and deficits. The types of addictions included in these studies were alcohol, drug, and nicotine addiction. Most RCTs suggested that various types of yoga, primarily Hatha Yoga and its components, led to favorable or equivalent results for SUD as an adjunct to control or treatment-as-usual interventions. There are limited results on the impact of yoga for SUD specifically focused on women and their unique needs. Although the results of mixed-gender articles are encouraging, large RCTs with gender-specific subanalyses are required to better determine the benefits specific to women incorporating yoga for SUD.

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