Mindfulness exercises can be as effective as anxiety drugs, study shows

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Mindfulness practices have been used to treat anxiety for a long time, but this is the first study showing how effective they can be in comparison with standard treatments for anxiety disorders. Photo: Pexels


(Amanda Morris/ Washington Post) — Practicing mindfulness to relieve anxiety can be just as effective as medication, new research shows.

A recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry showed that people who received eight weeks of mindfulness-based interventions experienced a decrease in anxiety that matched those who were prescribed escitalopram, a common anti-anxiety medication that is often prescribed under the brand name Lexapro.

A seven-point scale was used to assess anxiety among 208 participants, with a score of seven representing extreme anxiety and a score of one being normal. In both the medication and the mindfulness groups, the average score after treatment dropped from a moderate level of anxiety to a mild level of anxiety.

Both groups began the study with similar baseline scores (4.44 in the mindfulness group and 4.51 in the medication group.) By the end of the study, anxiety scores in both groups had declined to an average of 3.09 on the anxiety scale, a statistically similar change that showed the treatments to be equally effective. (…)

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