What Patients Say Works for Anxiety

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By Alexandra Carmichael, Co-Founder of CureTogether

Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 18 percent of the U.S. population. According to a new study by CureTogether, the most effective treatments for anxiety reported by patients themselves  include exercise, yoga and and being with animals.  CureTogether is a free resource owned by 23andMe that allows people to share information about their health and treatments.

People in the study said they found that lifestyle changes like exercising, spending time outdoors, and inspiring music were effective treatments, as were the drugs Xanax and Ativan. Conversely those in the study said some drugs like Amitriptyline, Paxil, and Wellbutrin were among the least effective. These are all treatments suggested and reported by patients, so some redundancy in the terms used is to be expected. In addition, the term “treatment” in this study refers to anything patients describe using to help them feel better whether it is an officially prescribed medical treatment or not.

Most Effective Rated Treatments for People with Anxiety 1. Exercise 2. Yoga 3. Xanax 4. Spend time with animals 5. Spend time outdoors 6. Cognitive Behavior Therapy 7. Meditation 8. Ativan 9. Clonazepam 10. Inspiring music

Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment, according to Anxiety and Depression Disorders of America. In addition, anxiety disorders cost the U.S. more than $42 billion a year, so CureTogether asked people suffering from anxiety to rate the effectiveness of different treatments in an effort to help raise awareness. CureTogether’s study compiled responses from 10,980 people with anxiety, who rated the effectiveness of 95 different treatments.

Where did this data come from? This is the result of a four-year CureTogether study on Anxiety, in which people living with the condition shared information about their symptoms and what treatments worked best for them. We’d like to thank those who participated. And just as they shared their experience with treatments, we’re freely and openly sharing the results of the anxiety study.

This is part of a regular series of CureTogether research findings. CureTogether’s research findings are different than those made by 23andMe, which look at genetic associations with illness, traits and drug response. But as we continue our work with the CureTogether community, 23andMe hopes to incorporate more of this kind of self-reported information into our own research. CureTogether present its findings just as they are – patient-reported data – to stimulate discussion and generate new insights for further research.

 Please tweet, blog, or pass this along to anyone who can benefit or is interested in anxiety. Thank you!

  • Jim

    Very sad that Xanax is #3.. Very unhealthy for you! Marijuana is a much better alternative.

    • khymmy1

      To bad it’s a social, political stigma, they make it impossible to get other care if your in a mm program.
      For instance I have certaIn type of nerve pain from an injury, but if I use mm for ptsd, ansIety and depression I’m not allowed to get any other pain treatments under current state rules. Even tho it does not work for my kind of pain. They will dope me up for yrs. With anti depressants, mis prescribe incompatible drugs put you in the flight deck because they screwed up and almost killed you then tell you they don’t believe you.
      Fly off to Tahiti for a week on the money they make off of screwing you up. It’s impossible to od on mm
      Many ppl say it’s effective for them.
      Welbutrin is evil and so is modern medicne!

  • Darwin

    I strongly desagree with the inefficiency of Paxil (paroxetin)… It’s not serious to consider calcium or vitam D supplementation to be more effective to treat anxiety.

  • sherryels

    I agree on the exercise, meditation, being outdoors, and even music for changing ones mood. Especially music works for me. However, I have been on a Xanax regimen for years, and quite truthfully, if I hadn’t had it as an option at first, I would have never left the house. In fact, Before I had tried Xanax, I hadn’t left the house unless absolutely necessary for a very long time. Once you are in the midst of a full blown panic attack, it is quite scary, and something you will not soon forget. Another hurdle in dealing with this, is the general population’s acceptance. I’ve heard everything form, “she’s faking” to “I was doing it for attention” These are people who must have perfect lives, and nothing bothers them. I assure you, panic is real, and very prevalent in our society. Once I had taken Xanax for a couple of weeks, I was a different person. I’d tried almost every antidepressant with out there, no help at all. You have to watch your intake of this medicine, and follow your Dr.’s orders. You’ll start out with a small dose, and work closely with your Dr. to see which mg.s and dosage is right for you, This will consider what other meds you are on, if any, and your personal body physiology. It may take some trial and error, but it’s worth it. I hate to admit it, but I could not do without my daily dosage. There are many factors that come into play, your past, if it was bad, and how you are able to cope with it. Your current situation, and your ability to cope with it. It is different for everyone. For me, it was a lifesaver. You must be completely trustworthy with your Dr. and tell him everything, no matter how small of incidence. Having faith and trust in your Dr. is paramount. Well, that’s my two cent’s, maybe more than two cents, but the truth. I hope those of you suffering with anxiety get help, it’s out there, you just have to seek it. That can be a task in itself.
    Thank you