M-21: Can Laughter Therapy be Used as an Add-on Therapy Alongwith Anti-Anxiety and Anti-Depression Drugs? An Interventional Research.
Muntazir Ali Parvez Akhtar Sayed
RCSM Government Medical College; CPR General Hospital India
To assess the effectiveness of laughter therapy on the levels of anxiety & depression among inmates of an old age institution currently on anti-anxiety and anti-depression drugs and find out its effectiveness as an adjunct add-on therapy along-with respective drugs for anxiety & depression.
The study was conducted on old-age home inmates having anxiety & depression. The sample size was 76 (Experimental:37 & Controls:38). Experimental group was given the intervention from 05/19/2016 – 08/20//2016. Both groups were on respective drugs. Data analysis was done by inferential statistics.
Anxiety and depression were scored using Geriatric Anxiety Inventory (GAI) and Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). The special population of inmates of old age institution aging from 55-80 years constituted the study subjects.
FOR EXPERIMENTAL GROUP:
For Anxiety- the mean score before & after administration of laughter therapy (the intervention) was 14.4054 and 9.2702 with SD as 2.4995 and 2.2441 respectively (the t-value was 24.9721 which was highly significant at P<0.001);
For Depression- the mean score before & after administration of laughter therapy was 9.7837 and 5.3243 with SD as 1.9022 and 1.3754 respectively (t-value was 23.6926 which was highly significant at P<0.001).
FOR CONTROL GROUP:
For Anxiety- the mean score before & after administration of laughter therapy was 14.9743 and 13.2564 with SD as 2.4005 and 6.3535 respectively (t-value was 9.1803 which was significant at P<0.005);
For Depression- the mean score before & after administration of laughter therapy was 10.2051 and 9.3846 with SD as 1.1960 and 1.3101 respectively (t-value was 5.4376 and it was significant at P<0.005).
Depression and anxiety were also statistically related to each other. (Correlation: 0.6727, P:0.01, 95% C.I: 0.4459-0.8183)
Paired t-test was used for data analysis. It was statistically found out that levels of anxiety and depression reduced in both experimental & control groups. There was a profound reduction in the levels of anxiety and depression in the experimental group (statistically significant P<0.0000) which was on laughter therapy intervention. However the levels also reduced in control group (statistically significant P<0.005) not on intervention. This was due to the fact that the control group was also on their medications but the effect was not so profound in the control group (t-values for anxiety & depression were 9.18 & 5.43 respectively) as was for experimental group (t-values for anxiety & depression were 25.97 & 23.69 respectively).
Inmates of old age institutions suffer from anxiety and depression. Laughter therapy can lead to reduction in the levels of anxiety and depression. It is also found to be effective in improving morale and well-being of the inmates in old age homes. The technique of laughter therapy is free from any complications and does not cause any deviations or complications arising from the general health of the elderly or which are caused by chronic usage of drugs to alleviate anxiety and depression. The experimental group which was given the intervention (laughter therapy) had rapid & profound significant reduction in anxiety and depression levels; they were also on their respective medications whereas not so rapid & profound but significant reduction was also noted in control group which was only on their medications without intervention.
Laughter therapy can rapidly reduce the levels of anxiety and depression if coupled with anti-anxiety and anti-depression drugs. Thus laughter therapy can be used as a modality in the treatment of anxiety and depression.
The harmless intervention can prevent the chronic use of anti anxiety & anti depression drugs, also improving the general health and well being in such elderly population. The intervention can serve as an adjunct and an add-on cost-effective and patient complaint therapy in rapidly alleviating anxiety and depression in patients with anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications. However further studies could be encouraged to assess the effectiveness of laughter therapy on other age groups of the population as well. Research into the effects of laughter on other body systems like endocrine system, immune system and its role in promoting the relationship between healthy aging & drug usage should be encouraged.
The author believes laughter therapy to be a harmless means of tackling symptoms of anxiety & depression and improving the mental status and patient compliance if given along-with anti-anxiety & anti-depression drugs.