Mindfulness matches pill for anxiety in study

A woman meditates on the beach in Miami Beach, Fla. Mindfulness is a form of meditation that emphasizes focusing only on what’s happening at the moment and dismissing intrusive thoughts. 

(The Associated Press/ CBC News) — Mindfulness meditation worked as well as a standard drug for treating anxiety in the first head-to-head comparison.

The study tested a widely used mindfulness program that includes 2 ½ hours of classes weekly and 45 minutes of daily practice at home. Participants were randomly assigned to the program or daily use of a generic drug sold under the brand name Lexapro for depression and anxiety.

After two months, anxiety as measured on a severity scale declined by about 30 per cent in both groups and continued to decrease during the following four months.

Study results, published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, are timely. In September, an influential U.S. health task force recommended routine anxiety screening for adults, and numerous reports suggest global anxiety rates have increased recently, related to worries over the pandemic, political and racial unrest, climate change and financial uncertainties. (…)

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