Health Medical

Researchers find mindfulness as effective as medicine in calming anxiety


HQ Team

November 11,2022:Global anxiety rates have gone up in the wake of the pandemic, climate upheavals, political crises and financial worries. Numerous reports have emerged to confirm the growing number of anxious people.

According to a study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, mindfulness meditation worked as well as a standard drug for treating anxiety in the first head-to-head comparison.

The mindfulness program included 2 1/2 hours of classes weekly and 45 minutes of daily practice at home. Participants were randomly assigned to the program or chosen to be given a generic drug sold under the brand name Lexapro for depression and anxiety.

The participants were tested for anxiety levels two months down the line and it was found that anxiety decreased by about 30% in both groups and continued to decrease during the following four months.

Anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders can include social anxiety and panic attacks. Some people are so severely affected by this disorder that it affects their normal routine. In the U.S., anxiety disorders affect 40% of U.S. women at some point in their lives and more than 1 in 4 men, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

For the study, 200 adults participated in the six-month study at medical centers in Washington, Boston and New York. Researchers used a psychiatric scale of 1 to 7, with 7 denoting severe anxiety. The average score was about 4.5 for participants before starting treatment. It dropped to about 3 after two months, then dipped slightly in both groups at three months and six months.

Ten patients on the drug dropped out because of side effects. There were no dropouts in the mindfulness group, although 13 patients reported increased anxiety.

What is mindfulness?

It is a form of meditation that teaches you to concentrate on the present and what you are and doing. You are taught to disregard any intrusive thoughts about the surroundings or fretting about future events. An important part of this is to learn to control one’s breathing and then learn relaxing techniques.

intrude, participants learn to briefly acknowledge them but then dismiss them.

Instead of ruminating over the troubling thought, “you say, ‘I’m having this thought, let that go for now,”’ said lead author Elizabeth Hoge, director of Georgetown University’s Anxiety Disorders Research Program. With practice, “It changes the relationship people have with their own thoughts when not meditating.”

Previous studies have the usefulness of mindfulness in controlling anxiety, but this is the first study to test it against a psychiatric drug, Hoge said. The study will help make insurers agree to cover this therapy costs, which can run $300 to $500 for an 8-week session.

Several psychiatrists prescribe mindfulness along with medicines for some patients.

A Baltimore school has something called the Mindful Moment Room, where disruptive students are sent to reflect on their wrongdoing. Children are encouraged to sit in the room and go through practices like breathing or meditation, helping them calm down and re-center. They are also asked to talk through what happened. The school saw tangible results with students calming down. The school saw zero suspensions in the one year since the program started.

A 2010 study published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology found that mindfulness-based approaches reduce problematic responses to stress. Students who learned mindfulness skills were less likely to ruminate. They experienced fewer intrusive thoughts and lower emotional arousal

Many schools across the globe have adopted similar practices with tangible results.

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