Self-care for anxiety and depression: A comparison of evidence from Cochrane reviews and practice to inform decision-making and priority-setting
JournalBMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies
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AbstractBackground: Self-care refers to a range of activities and approaches undertaken by an individual to maintain health and manage ill-health which may include various complementary or alternative approaches. The purpose of this study was to identify the self-care approaches used by the general public for depression and anxiety, assess the usefulness of Cochrane reviews for informing decisions on self-care and highlight any gaps in the evidence. Methods: Searches were carried out for surveys of self-care for anxiety and/or depression and for Cochrane reviews and protocols of interventions with potential for use in self-care. Data was extracted from each review and Plain Language Summaries assessed for content, consistency and readability. Interventions reported in surveys and in Cochrane reviews were compared and effectiveness of each assessed. Results: Surveys from 10 countries reported a variety of self-care interventions, 17 of which appeared in 2 or more surveys and which included dietary supplements, herbal medicines, mind-body therapies and various forms of exercise. Twenty-two reviews and 5 protocols on potential self-care interventions were identified, the majority in depression. Twelve interventions were judged effective or promising, most with small effect sizes. Readability of summaries was highly variable: half were written at college/university level. Several commonly used approaches were not covered by Cochrane reviews. Conclusions: This study has revealed the interventions currently used by the general public which are judged effective or promising based on Cochrane reviews. Some disparity is highlighted between interventions used in practice and the availability of reliable evidence, and in the presentation of effectiveness and safety. Being able to direct patients to reliable, accessible information is a positive step in ensuring effective patient-centered, evidence-informed care. Addressing gaps, ensuring consistency and increasing usability of evidence intended for the general public will support this goal. © 2020 The Author(s).
Identifier to cite or link to this itemhttp://hdl.handle.net/10713/13615