Exercise as medicine for mental and substance use disorders: a meta-review of the benefits for neuropsychiatric and cognitive outcomes

Ashdown-Franks, Garcia and Firth, Joseph and Carney, Rebekah and Carvalho, Andre and Hallgren, Mats and Koyanagi, Ai and Rosenbaum, Simon and Schuch, Felipe and Smith, Lee and Solmi, Marco and Vancampfort, Davy and Stubbs, Brendon (2019) Exercise as medicine for mental and substance use disorders: a meta-review of the benefits for neuropsychiatric and cognitive outcomes. Sports Medicine. ISSN 1179-2035

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-019-01187-6

Abstract

Background: Exercise may improve neuropsychiatric and cognitive symptoms in people with mental disorders, but the totality of the evidence is unclear. We conducted a meta-review of exercise in (1) serious mental illness ( schizophrenia spectrum, bipolar disorder and major depression (MDD)); (2) anxiety and stress disorders; (3) alcohol and substance use disorders; (4) eating disorders (anorexia nervosa bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorders, and (5) other mental disorders (including ADHD, pre/post-natal depression). Methods: Systematic searches of major databases from inception until 1/10/2018 were undertaken to identify meta-analyses of randomised control trials (RCTs) of exercise in people with clinically diagnosed mental disorders. In the absence of available meta-analyses for a mental disorder, we identified systematic reviews of exercise interventions in people with elevated mental health symptoms that included non-RCTs. Meta-analysis quality was assessed with the AMSTAR/+. Results: Overall, we identified 27 systematic reviews (including 16 meta-analyses representing 152 RCTs). Among those with MDD, we found consistent evidence (meta-analyses=8) that exercise reduced depression in children, adults and older adults. Evidence also indicates that exercise was more effective than control conditions in reducing anxiety symptoms (meta-analyses=3), and as an adjunctive treatment for reducing positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia (meta-analyses=2). Regarding neurocognitive effects, exercise improved global cognition in schizophrenia (meta-analyses=1), children with ADHD (meta-analyses=1), but not in MDD (meta-analyses=1). Among those with elevated symptoms, positive mental health benefits were observed for exercise in people with pre/post-natal depression, anorexia nervosa/bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and alcohol use disorders/substance use disorders. Adverse events were sparsely reported. Conclusion: Our panoramic meta-overview suggests that exercise can be an effective adjunctive treatment for improving symptoms across a broad range of mental disorders.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: substance use, Exercise, Meta-review
Faculty: Faculty of Science & Engineering
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2019 08:39
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2019 16:07
URI: http://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/704703

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