A new study has found that mindfulness exercises can be as effective as antidepressants in dealing with anxiety disorders in some cases.
The findings highlight that mindfulness meditation may be a useful approach to treat these conditions.
The study included a course of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) techniques and an 8-week selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class, also known as Lexapro, considered the gold standard antidepressant. compared courses of escitalopram, a drug in
Follow-up surveys were conducted up to 24 weeks after enrollment and were measured using an assessment called the Clinical Global Impression of Severity Scale (CGI-S) on a scale of 1 to 7 (7 being severe anxiety).
Those who tried mindfulness dropped their scores by an average of 1.35 points, and those who used escitalopram dropped an average of 1.43 points.
Elizabeth Hoge, a psychiatrist at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., said, “Our research recommends mindfulness-based stress reduction as an effective treatment for anxiety disorders. , insurance companies, and the healthcare system.
208 patients completed the course of treatment prescribed by the researchers. The mindfulness program included one 2.5-hour in-person class for him per week, and a one-day retreat for him in the fifth or sixth week. In addition, 45 minutes of daily home exercise was performed.
Antidepressants can help treat anxiety, but they don’t work for everyone. Even SSRIs like escitalopram are just below the standards used to assess adherence, with a significant number of patients failing to renew their prescriptions. They are hard to come by and can have side effects such as nausea.
“A big advantage of mindfulness meditation is that training to become a mindfulness facilitator does not require a clinical degree,” says Hoge. “Additionally, sessions can take place outside of a healthcare setting, such as a school or community center.”
More than 300 million people are believed to have some form of anxiety disorder, making it the most common type of mental disorder at the moment. The term includes conditions such as agoraphobia, which can increase the risk of suicide or disability.
And while mindfulness programs have been shown to help with anxiety, they have never been directly compared to antidepressants. These results not only strongly indicate that MBSR techniques can reduce anxiety at similar levels, but also provide individuals with a tool that they can continue to benefit from in the future.
But researchers stress that mindfulness requires more commitment and time than taking medication. It is not clear what the target is.
“Mindfulness meditation works, but everyone wants to put in the time and effort to successfully complete all the required sessions and have regular home practices to enhance their effectiveness. It’s important to note that we’re not in the same boat,” says Hoge.
“Also, virtual delivery via video conferencing can be effective as long as live components such as question and answer time and group discussions are preserved.”
This research JAMA Psychiatry.