Treatment of Depression and Anxiety by Naturopathic Physicians: An Observational Study of Naturopathic Medicine Within an Integrated Multidisciplinary Community Health Center

J Altern Complement Med. 2017 May;23(5):348-354. doi: 10.1089/acm.2016.0232. Epub 2017 Feb 6.


Objectives: This project was designed to assess the quality of care received by patients with depression and anxiety who were seen by naturopathic physicians in a community health center.

Methods: The Natural Medicine Quality Improvement Project for the Treatment of Depression and Anxiety (NMQP-DA) was conducted over a 26-month period from December 2009 through February 2012 at HealthPoint, a non-profit, consumer-governed, community health center network located in suburban King County, Washington. A total of 112 patients enrolled in the NMQP-DA, and 60 were seen for two or more visits, thus meeting eligibility criteria for inclusion in the study. The mean number of visits was 3.3. The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) depression screener and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item scale (GAD-7) anxiety screener were the outcome measures.

Results: The overall improvement in symptoms of depression and anxiety was highly significant (p < 0.0001) when comparing the group's average initial screener scores to their average final screener scores for both depression (16.4 vs. 8.6) and anxiety (12.4 vs. 7.2). The response rate, as measured by a 50% decrease in scores, for those with initial scores ≥10 was 58.6% for depression (PHQ-9) and 50% for anxiety (GAD-7).

Conclusions: This study adds new data to the limited literature on the nature and effectiveness of naturopathic medicine to treat anxiety and depression in the context of an integrative community health center.

Keywords: anxiety; complementary therapies; depression; integrative medicine; naturopathic medicine; naturopathy.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Community Health Centers
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Integrative Medicine*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Naturopathy*
  • Physicians / statistics & numerical data*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*