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A new study published by JAMA Psychiatry has demonstrated that practising mindfulness is as effective as prescription drugs in anxiety treatment. The six-month study examined the question, “Is mindfulness-based stress reduction non-inferior to escitalopram for the treatment of anxiety disorders?”

A new study shows that mindfulness can help relieve anxiety 

The study recruited 208 participants with anxiety in New York, Boston and Washington. Study participants were divided into two groups, one that took medication and the other focusing on mindfulness. 

According to the findings, practising mindfulness to reduce stress was an effective therapy alternative for individuals with anxiety, similar to first-line pharmacological treatment. This is the first study of its kind to look at how well meditation can help people with anxiety. According to most people, if done correctly, medication offers a calming effect on their minds. 

According to the researchers, the study’s significance lies in its ability to support a successful anxiety therapy with genuine data and evidence, as several licensed medications have nevertheless shown to be ineffective for some people.

It is vital to note that meditation is not an instant cure for anxiety as it doesn’t make uncertainty feelings disappear but rather helps someone relax. With a calm and relaxed mind, someone can see fear as something that comes and go, and if they relax and breathe slowly, it will go away. 

WHO report; Anxiety and depression on the surge globally

In March, the World Health Organisation reported that following the pandemic, there had been a 25% surge in the prevalence of depression and anxiety globally. The most affected population are young people who are at risk of self-harm and suicidal behaviours. Also, the report indicated that women were disproportionately affected more than men.  

The study indicated that anxiety disorders were among the most common, impairing and highly distressing disorders. There are efficient treatments available, yet many people are unable to access or benefit from them. Although mindfulness-based therapies, like mindfulness-based anxiety management, are well-liked and can reduce anxiety, it is unclear how they stack up against conventional first-line therapy.