According to a new study, published in JAMA Psychiatry on Wednesday, there is proper evidence that proves meditation is equally effective as medication in managing the symptoms of anxiety disorders. Moreover, there are no risks or side effects involved when it comes to meditation. This study is an addition to the huge amount of research around the several mental health benefits of mindfulness specifically.
To conduct the study, researchers took 276 adults who were diagnosed with untreated anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety, panic disorder, or social anxiety, and divided them into two random groups. One of the groups were given a 10 to 20 mg daily dosage of Lexapro – a normal beginning dose. The other group was given weekly two-and-a-half hour mindfulness classes at a local clinic. They took help from an approach called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, with a 45 minutes of meditation homework everyday for around eight weeks.
The participants of the study who took the medications and those who were a part of the meditation program were examined at the end of eight weeks with the same clinical scale, and both the participating groups showcased around a 20% reduction in the severity of symptoms. Study author Elizabeth Hoge, director of the Anxiety Disorders Research Program at Georgetown University Medical Center, said, "The fact that we found them to be equal is amazing because now that opens up a whole new potential type of treatment."
With the help of this recent study, experts can now focus on the scientific evidence-based benefits of meditation while talking about options with their patients. Try to find a 10-minute window during the day when you can sit quietly without distraction. It is important to take professional help if your anxiety symptoms progress, where it impacts your day to day life, and relationships, or if you are having thoughts of self hurt or harming others.