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Complementary medicine, exercise, meditation, diet, and lifestyle modification for anxiety disorders : a review of current evidence

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posted on 2012-01-01, 00:00 authored by J Sarris, Steve MoylanSteve Moylan, D Camfield, M Pase, D Mischoulon, Michael BerkMichael Berk, Felice JackaFelice Jacka, I Schweitzer
Use of complementary medicines and therapies (CAM) and modification of lifestyle factors such as physical activity and exercise, and diet are being increasingly considered as potential therapeutic options for anxiety disorders. The objective of this metareview was to examine evidence across a broad range of CAM and lifestyle interventions in the treatment of anxiety disorders. In early 2012 we conducted a literature search of PubMed, Scopus, CINAHL, Web of Science, PsycInfo, and the Cochrane Library, for key studies, systematic reviews, and metaanalyses in the area. Our review found that in respect to treatment of generalized anxiety or specific anxiety disorders, CAM evidence revealed support for the herbal medicine Kava. One isolated study shows benefit for naturopathic medicine, whereas acupuncture, yoga, and Tai chi have tentative supportive evidence, which is hampered by overall poor methodology. The breadth of evidence does not support homeopathy for treating anxiety. Strong support exists for lifestyle modifications including adoption of moderate exercise and mindfulness meditation, whereas dietary improvement, avoidance of caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine offer encouraging preliminary data. In conclusion, certain lifestyle modifications and some CAMs may provide a beneficial role in the management of anxiety disorders.



Evidence based complementary and alternative medicine




Article ID 809653


1 - 20


Hindawi Publishing Corporation


New York, N.Y.






Reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright owner.

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2012 J. Sarris et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.