Program Fighting Anxiety as Effectively as Prescription Drug

Could meditation be just as effective as a common drug in treating anxiety? Researchers asked this question in a study that was presented this week in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

They discovered that the pharmaceutical medicine escitalopram, often known as Lexapro’s generic name, caused about the same 20% reduction in severe anxiety symptoms as an intense, 8-week mindfulness meditation programme.

276 persons with untreated anxiety disorders were divided into two groups for the study. A daily dose of 10 to 20 milligrammes of Lexapro was given to one group. The second group participated in daily 45-minute meditation homework assignments for eight weeks, two 2-and-a-half-hour weekly mindfulness classes, and a one-day retreat around week five.

According to National Public Radio, the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme “teaches participants to focus on their breath and attention to one body area at a time to assess how it feels, and urges them to try to focus on what is happening now, rather than the past or the future.”

According to Elizabeth Hoge, MD, director of the Anxiety Disorders Research Program at Georgetown University Medical Center, it proposes a method to see their unfavourable thoughts with less judgement.

She explains that an anxious person is more likely to worry about negative outcomes, such as failing an exam. The person can learn to experience the notion as just a thought, not the truth or something that needs to be done, when it arises.

The majority of participants were white, single, single women with full-time occupations. Not everyone has the time or money to invest in such a programme. Additionally, using an app or taking a casual course generally won’t produce the same outcomes.

According to the researchers, the goal is not to substitute meditation for medication. Instead, they want to recommend novel therapeutic approaches that are both broadly available and insurance-covered.

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