Share this story!
When researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center compared how mindfulness meditation (MBSR) and anti-depressant drugs could reduce anxiety, the results were even. In both cases, the patients' perceived anxiety level was reduced by around 30 percent.
Mindfulness was thus not more effective than antidepressants, but there are still benefits to mindfulness.
"A big advantage of mindfulness meditation is that you don't have to have a medical education to work as a mindfulness instructor. In addition, it is easy to organize sessions outside healthcare facilities such as in schools or activity centers" says Elizabeth Hoge, professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical Center and one of the researchers behind the study, in a press release.
To test the methods, the researchers divided 276 patients into two randomly arranged groups. One group received an antidepressant medication while the other group received 2.5 hours a week with a mindfulness instructor.
When the researchers then assessed the patients' anxiety levels on a seven-point scale after eight weeks, both groups reduced their anxiety by roughly the same amount.
So mindfulness can serve as a full-fledged alternative to antidepressants, but it requires a little more from patients.
"It's important to note that although mindfulness meditation works, not everyone is willing to put in the time and effort it takes to regularly meditate and complete all sessions, which increases the effect" says Elizabeth Hoge.