Self-help therapies of some benefit in anxiety disorders

Clinical question: 
How effective are media-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy and behavioural therapy (self-help therapies) for anxiety disorders in adults?
Bottom line: 
Self-help therapies may be superior to no intervention for people with anxiety; there were positive effects on symptoms of anxiety and depression, response and recovery from illness, disability, and quality of life. Face-to-face interventions may be superior to media-delivered interventions. There were differences favouring face-to-face treatment for symptoms of anxiety, but no significant differences in response and recovery from illness, disability and quality of life. However, few studies included follow-up after six months. Effects were maintained after cessation of treatment.
Caveat: 
In general, studies were conducted in high-income, English-speaking countries among white, female, middle-aged participants. These results may not generalise to other settings or participants. Trials had high exclusion rates. Evidence regarding harm was lacking, and economic analyses were beyond the scope of this review. Many of the self-help therapy materials used were intended for research and were not available to the public.
Context: 
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problems. They can be chronic and unremitting. Effective treatments are available, but access to services is limited. Self-help therapies aim to deliver treatment with less input from professionals compared with traditional therapies.
Review CD#: 
CD005330
PEARLS No: 
414
Date: 
December, 2013
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy