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Study: Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Linked to Reduced Anxiety Symptoms

October 1st 2018
Gina Kokosky, Assistant Editor

An analysis of 19 clinical studies shows that an association exists between omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid treatment and a reduced severity of anxiety symptoms.

An analysis of 19 clinical studies shows that an association exists between omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid treatment (PUFAs) and a reduced severity of anxiety symptoms. Researchers have concluded that omega-3 PUFAs may be clinically effective in treating anxiety symptoms, according to a study published by JAMA Network.

Patients with anxiety experience inappropriate and amplified feelings of fear, causing distress and impairing one's daily life. Anxiety is currently the most common psychiatric symptom, with 1 in 3 adults reporting an anxiety disorder in their lifetime. Anxiety is often comorbid with depressive disorders. The combination of these debilitating disorders can reduce a patient’s health-related quality of life, and increase their risk of mortality, according to the study.

Treatment options for patients with anxiety include cognitive behavioral therapy or pharmaceuticals, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Some patients with anxiety, however, may be hesitant to take medications with potential adverse effects or participate in costly and time consuming behavioral therapy. Therefore, novel treatment options for patients with anxiety and comorbid medical conditions are necessary for wider access to treatment, according to the study.

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