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Table 4 Comparison of interventions from surveys with relevant Cochrane reviews

From: Self-care for anxiety and depression: a comparison of evidence from Cochrane reviews and practice to inform decision-making and priority-setting

Self-Care interventions mentioned in multiple patient/public or expert surveys Focus of relevant Cochrane review(s) Assessment of effectiveness based on Plain Language Summary (PLS) † Safety information in the PLS
Aromatherapy   
Bibliotherapy media-delivered cognitive or behavioural therapy for anxiety disorders +
psychotherapeutic treatments for older depressed people No PLS
Dietary change   
Dietary supplements (other than vitamins/minerals or herbs) tryptophan and 5-Hydroxytryptophan for depression ++ Mentions side effects that have occurred; also that tryptophan associated with development of a fatal condition
S-adenosyl methionine for depression + Mention of fewer side effects than with an antidepressant
omega-3 fatty acids for depression + Mentions that insufficient high quality evidence to determine … negative side effects
dietary supplements (EPA or DHA) for preventing postpartum depression ?
melatonin for preventing seasonal affective disorder No evidence
Exercise exercise for depression ++
psychosocial interventions to prevent psychological disorders in law enforcement personnel No mention of exercise in PLS
psychosocial interventions to prevent and treat depression in dialysis patients ++ Mentions adverse events very uncertain.
Herbal medicine kava extract for treating anxiety ++ Mentions that few adverse events were reported in the reviewed trials *
passiflora for anxiety disorders + Mentions that not possible to draw any conclusions on the safety
St John’s wort for major depression ++ Mention of fewer side effects than antidepressants; that side effects are usually minor and uncommon but effects of other drugs might be significantly compromised.
valerian for anxiety disorders ? Mentions that tolerated as well as an anxiolytic but that further studies are needed for conclusions on safety.
continuation and maintenance treatments for persistent depressive disorder in adults No mention of St. John’s wort in PLS
Homeopathy   
Internet-based self-help media-delivered cognitive or behavioural therapy for anxiety disorders +
Massage   
Meditation/mindfulness meditation therapy for anxiety disorders + Mentions that adverse effects have not been reported
psychosocial interventions to prevent and treat depression in dialysis patients ? Mentions adverse events very uncertain.
Music   
Natural environments   
Pets/animals   
Prayer/spirituality psychosocial interventions to prevent and treat depression in dialysis patients ? Mentions adverse events very uncertain.
Relaxation relaxation for depression ++
interventions for treating anxiety after stroke ?
psychosocial interventions to prevent psychological disorders in law enforcement personnel No mention of relaxation in PLS
psychosocial interventions to prevent and treat depression in dialysis patients ++ Mentions adverse events very uncertain.
Self-help groups (not internet)   
Sunlight exposure light therapy** for preventing seasonal affective disorder ? Mentions that the included study provided no information on side effects.
light therapy** for non-seasonal depression ? Mentions a potential adverse effect that needs to be considered.
Vitamins/minerals folate for depressive disorders + Mentions that it was well-tolerated in the included trials.
inositol for depressive disorders ?
dietary supplements (selenium) for preventing postpartum depression ?
Yoga   
  1. †Key for statements in review PLS: -- no review; ++ effective; + promising;? unclear
  2. * Comments on this review include report of possible liver toxicity
  3. ** Light therapy uses machines that simulate components of natural outdoor light