An alternative to psychiatric treatment, which is, perhaps, too demanding and expensive for many of the mentally ill and their families, may be found in yoga and meditation. A recent study of NIMHANS [National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bangalore, India], based on ten years of research on alcoholics, persons suffering from depression and schizophrenic patients, reveals that treatment through yoga is as effective as conventional medicines.
The positive effects of Vipassana – a Buddhist meditation technique – have been researched and recorded in different psychosomatic disorders such as chronic pain, headaches, bronchial asthma, hypertension, peptic ulcer and psoriasis. Vipassana has also been found beneficial in treating alcoholism and drug addiction, besides various mental disorders. The technique has been found to be effective on the general population as also various special target groups such as students, prisoners and police personnel.
I would also urge you to read an article titled Meditation vs. Medication: The Importance of Spirituality in the Treatment of Mental Illness by Dr. Emily Wilkinson in the Oxford University’s Medical School Gazette . Please click on the link here to go to the article. http://www.medsci.ox.ac.uk/gazette/previousissues/54vol2/Part4 .