Integrative Behavioral Health

There is growing scientific evidence about complementary and integrated health treatments. Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine, or CAM, is growing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders.

Complementary medicine is used along with conventional medicine. An example is in-home treatment to help modify symptoms of panic attacks. Alternative medicine can include a special diet to treat cancer instead of undergoing surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy recommended by a medical doctor.

Before beginning CAM or any type of treatment, talk to your mental health provider or primary care doctor. Visit the NIH  National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health "Know the Science" website page.

Treating Anxiety Disorders and Depression

The following complementary and integrative health practices may be used to help treat anxiety and depressive disorders. We advise that you speak with your primary physician and/or mental health provider before selecting any complementary treatment:

  • Stress and Relaxation Techniques
    Relaxation techniques may produce modest short-term reduction of anxiety in people with ongoing health problems. These techniques have also been shown to be useful for older adults with anxiety. Find out more.
  • Meditation
    Moderate evidence suggests that meditation is useful for symptoms of anxiety and depression in adults. Read this ADAA blog post: Mindfulness Meditation for Anxiety 
  • Yoga
    Yoga, which combines physical postures, breathing exercises, meditation, and a distinct philosophy, is one of the top ten practices of CAM (complementary and alternative medicine). It may also help alleviate anxiety and depression. Watch this ADAA webinar: Can Yoga Help with Anxiety or Depression? What Does the Research Say?
  • Acupuncture
    Evidence for the use of acupuncture — the Chinese practice of inserting needles into the body at specific points to manipulates the body's flow of energy — to treat anxiety disorders is becoming stronger.

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