Effect of mental imagery on depression, anxiety and stress in instituitionalised leprosy patients – An experimental study
Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease is caused by Mycobacterium Leprae. Despite being curable, it continues to be a significant health problem in many parts of the world. The prevalence of psychiatric disorders is higher in the leprosy affected population than in the general population. Physical activity has been associated with reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety. It is also associated with improved life satisfaction and psychological well-being. Mental Imagery holds belief as an intervention in the treatment of psychological disorders. This is attributable to its harmless, time and cost effective nature. The study aimed to assess the effect of mental imagery on Depression, Anxiety and Stress in institutionalised Leprosy patients using the DASS-21 (Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale -21). It was carried out in 34 subjects divided equally in the control and experimental groups. The control group received an aerobic exercise program whereas the experimental group received an aerobic exercise program with mental imagery. It was thus concluded that a statistically significant difference was obtained in the scores of Depression in the experimental group. However, only clinically significant differences could be obtained in the scores of Anxiety and Stress. Thus, mental imagery can be used as an effective adjunct with conventional aerobic exercises for reducing Depression, Anxiety and Stress in institutionalised Leprosy patients.