Meditation works as well as a popular drug to reduce anxiety, study finds

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Importantly, the study shows that MBSR can achieve similar outcomes with tremendously fewer side effects. Getty Images


(April Fulton/ NPR) — If you’re suffering from anxiety, those negative thoughts and bad feelings can overwhelm you and interfere with your daily life. And while there are effective treatments, some people don’t want to take medicine or see a therapist – or don’t respond well to such treatments. Now, there’s new evidence supporting another option.

For the first time, scientists compared patients who took an intensive eight-week mindfulness meditation program to patients who took escitalopram, the generic name of the widely-prescribed and well-studied anxiety drug Lexapro. They found that both interventions worked equally well in reducing debilitating anxiety symptoms.

But don’t throw out the pills just yet. There’s a few caveats to run through. (…)

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