Alternative and Complementary Treatments for Anxiety Disorders
Complementary/Alternative Medicine for Anxiety
David Slawson, MD
Excerpt from a systematic review
American Family Physician, 2/01/2005
Bottom Line: The majority of complementary and alternative medicines lack valid evidence of effectiveness in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Some supporting evidence has been found for inositol, acupuncture, massage (only in children), autogenic therapy, bibliotherapy, dance/movement therapy, exercise, meditation, music, and relaxation therapy. Many common herbal and homeopathy treatments lack any evidence of effectiveness.
A Meta-analysis of Massage Therapy Research
Moyer, CA, Rounds, J & Hannum, JW.
This positive review was published by a
particularly rigorous journal:
OBJECTIVES: To review the evidence for the effectiveness of complementary and self-help treatments for anxiety disorders. DATA SOURCES: Systematic literature search using PubMed, PsycLit, and the Cochrane Library. DATA SYNTHESIS: 108 treatments were identified and grouped under the categories of medicines and homoeopathic remedies, physical treatments, lifestyle, and dietary changes. We give a description of the 34 treatments (for which evidence was found in the literature searched), the rationale behind the treatments, a review of studies on effectiveness, and the level of evidence for the effectiveness studies. CONCLUSIONS: The treatments with the best evidence of effectiveness are kava (for generalised anxiety), exercise (for generalised anxiety), relaxation training (for generalised anxiety, panic disorder, dental phobia and test anxiety) and bibliotherapy (for specific phobias). There is more limited evidence to support the effectiveness of acupuncture, music, autogenic training and meditation for generalised anxiety; for inositol in the treatment of panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder; and for alcohol avoidance by people with alcohol-use disorders to reduce a range of anxiety disorders. Link: Jorm, et al.
(ASDI note: Liver damage has subsequently been linked to kava use.)
ASDI: Serving the Baltimore Area & Central Maryland
Anxiety and Stress Disorders Institute of