study released Wednesday showed mindfulness meditation was just as effective as medication for treating anxiety.
The study published by JAMA Psychiatry asked the question, “Is mindfulness-based stress reduction noninferior to escitalopram for the treatment of anxiety disorders?”
The six-month trial involved 208 adults with anxiety disorders in Washington, Boston and New York. The trial involved two groups: one dedicated to mindfulness and the other that took medication.
The researchers used a scale from 1-7 to weigh the level of participants’ anxiety. The average score was about 4.5 at the beginning and gradually reduced in both groups throughout the study.
Their findings concluded that “mindfulness-based stress reduction was a well-tolerated treatment option with comparable effectiveness to a first-line medication for patients with anxiety disorders.”
The study is a first of its kind that has tested the effectiveness of meditation for general anxiety. Many people insist that meditation helps them calm their mind when done properly.
The researchers explained that the importance of the study is to help put real science and facts behind an effective anxiety treatment as some approved treatments have still proved to not be successful for some.
The World Health Organization reported in March that after the pandemic there was a 25% increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide.
“Anxiety disorders are common, highly distressing, and impairing conditions. Effective treatments exist, but many patients do not access or respond to them. Mindfulness-based interventions, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction, are popular and can decrease anxiety, but it is unknown how they compare to standard first-line treatments,” the study said.