Mindfulness practices help in reducing anxiety as much as antidepressant medication

13 January 2023
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by Madan Thapa
Madan Thapa

Madan Thapa

Madan S Thapa is a healthcare consultant and also a seasoned pharma editor, with over 10+ years...

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Would meditating help relieve anxiety and stress? We know it does but now research shows that it is as effective as taking medication. 

Results from a randomized clinical trial, published in JAMA Psychiatry, prepared by researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, have shown that participating in a guided mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program was as effective as taking an antidepressant drug. 

The trial involved 208 adults with anxiety disorder undergoing treatment for 8 weeks. Participants were assessed for their symptoms and randomly assigned the MBSR program or the antidepressant drug, escitalopram. At the end of the duration, their symptoms were assessed again for changes by clinical professionals who were unaware of whether the patient was treated with MBSR or the drug. Both groups of participants experienced a drop of around 30% in their anxiety symptoms.

“The effects of treatments were pretty much the same. Doctors can feel comfortable recommending mindfulness meditation training to their patients in the same way that they might recommend psychotherapy or medication or both,” says Elizabeth Hoge, associate professor and director of Georgetown University’s Anxiety Disorders Research Program Georgetown, to NPR.

However, she also adds that a practice like MBSR requires time and patience on the part of the patient for it to be fruitful. 

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