Heart rate variability and the efficacy of biofeedback in heroin users with depressive symptoms

I. Mei Lin, Jiun Min Ko, Sheng Yu Fan, Cheng Fang Yen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Low heart rate variability (HRV) has been confirmed in heroin users, but the effects of heart-rate-variability-biofeedback in heroin users remain unknown. This study examined (1) correlations between depression and HRV indices; (2) group differences in HRV indices among a heroin-user group, a group with major depressive disorder but no heroin use, and healthy controls; and (3) the effects of heart-rate-variability-biofeedback on depressive symptoms, HRV indices, and respiratory rates within the heroin group. Methods: All participants completed a depression questionnaire and underwent electrocardiogram measurements, and group differences in baseline HRV indices were examined. The heroin group underwent electrocardiogram and respiration rate measurements at baseline, during a depressive condition, and during a happiness condition, before and after which they took part in the heart-rate-variability-biofeedback program. The effects of heart-rate-variability-biofeedback on depressive symptoms, HRV indices, and respiration rates were examined. Results: There was a negative correlation between depression and high frequency of HRV, and a positive correlation between depression and low frequency to high frequency ratio of HRV. The heroin group had a lower overall and high frequency of HRV, and a higher low frequency/high frequency ratio than healthy controls. The heart-rate-variability-biofeedback intervention increased HRV indices and decreased respiratory rates from pre-intervention to post-intervention. Conclusion: Reduced parasympathetic and increased sympathetic activations were found in heroin users. Heart-rate-variability-biofeedback was an effective non-pharmacological intervention to restore autonomic balance. Copyright

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-176
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 May

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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