Alternative Therapies Effective For Anxiety

Some alternative therapies for treatment of anxiety may be more effective than anti-anxiety medications.

Alternative therapies win plaudits

A two-year study has found many complementary therapies work in treating anxiety and may even be more effective than conventional medicines.

The study, by the Australian National University's Centre for Mental Health, took two years to review all medical literature on the usefulness of 34 complementary therapies. It will be published in The Medical Journal of Australia today.

Included in the review were herbal remedies, such physical treatments as acupuncture and aromatherapy, lifestyle treatments such as humor and prayer, and dietary changes.

Anxiety disorders affect 7 per cent of men and 12 per cent of women and are said to be a problem when anxiety disrupts normal life. It is estimated 20 per cent of people with anxiety disorders seek professional help - many others choose self-help or complementary therapies.

Study co-author Anthony Jorm said the best evidence for alternative therapies treating anxiety disorders came from the herbal remedy kava, physical exercise, relaxation therapy and anxiety self-help books.

"Some of these might be as good as or better than current medicines," Professor Jorm said.

But he warned that kava may cause liver damage and taking it was not advised.

There was also evidence a range of other treatments, including acupuncture, meditation and listening to music, had some effectiveness. But the team found no convincing evidence that popular herbal remedies could alleviate anxiety.


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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, December 5). Alternative Therapies Effective For Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 from

Last Updated: April 14, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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