Effects of non-drug interventions on depression, anxiety and sleep in COVID-19 patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2021 Jan;25(2):1087-1096. doi: 10.26355/eurrev_202101_24679.


Objective: Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) suffer from anxiety, depression and sleep disorders due to isolation treatment, among other reasons. Whether non-drug interventions can be alternative therapies for COVID-19 patients with anxiety, depression and sleep disorders is controversial. Therefore, we conducted a meta-analysis and systematic review to evaluate the effects of non-drug interventions on anxiety, depression and sleep in patients with COVID-19 to provide guidance for clinical application.

Materials and methods: We searched the following databases for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) from December 2019 to July 2020: China Biomedical Literature Database (CBM), China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), Chongqing VIP Chinese Science and Technology Periodical Database (VIP), Wanfang, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, PubMed, MEDLINE and Embase. Two investigators independently screened the literature according to the inclusion and exclusion criteria, extracted data and evaluated the risk of bias in the included studies. Meta-analysis was performed using RevMan5.3 software.

Results: A total of 5 articles with 768 subjects were included. Meta-analysis results indicated that non-drug interventions can reduce anxiety [SMD=-1.40, 95% CI (-1.62, -1.17), p<0.00001] and depression [SMD=-1.22, 95% CI (-2.01, -0.43), p=0.002] scores in patients with COVID-19. Descriptive analysis indicated that non-drug interventions can improve the sleep status of COVID-19 patients. Sensitivity analysis indicated that the meta-analysis results were stable. Egger's test and Begg's test showed no publication bias.

Conclusions: This meta-analysis found that non-drug interventions can reduce the anxiety and depression scores of patients with COVID-19. Due to the limitations of this study, more high-quality studies are needed to verify the findings, especially the effect of non-drug interventions on improving the sleep status of COVID-19 patients.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 / psychology
  • COVID-19 / therapy*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Early Medical Intervention / methods
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / methods*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / psychology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome