Anxiety disorders: mindfulness meditation as effective as antidepressants

According to a new study, practicing mindfulness meditation for anxiety may be as effective as taking a prescribed antidepressant for anxiety disorders.

Will we soon be able to replace antidepressants with mindfulness meditation in the treatment of anxiety disorders? According to a study by researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center published in the journal JAMA Psychologya mindfulness-based stress reduction program proved to be as effective asescitalopraman antidepressant usually prescribed for people with anxiety disorders.

On the same subject

Generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorder or even fear of certain places or situations such as crowds or public transport… As part of the study, 276 people were followed and randomly divided into two groups: one party received treatment with escitalopram and the other followed a program followed by mindfulness meditation. The therapy was offered weekly for eight weeks via two and a half hour classes, a day-long weekend retreat, and daily 45-minute home practice exercises.

Their symptoms were measured on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 being severe anxiety. With an average age of 33 and made up of 76% women, participants provided information on their symptoms at the time of trial enrollment and at the end of the intervention after 8 weeks, as well as at 12 and 24 weeks after their registration.

A 30% decrease in the severity of anxiety

At the end of the trial, 102 patients completed the meditation program and 106 completed the antidepressant treatment. While both groups saw a drop in their anxiety symptoms, the mindfulness meditation group’s drop was almost as effective as the antidepressant group’s drop: 1.35 for the mindfulness program versus 1.43 for the drug, which is equivalent for both methods to a significant reduction of about 30% the severity of participants’ anxiety.

Our study provides evidence for clinicians, insurers and healthcare systems to recommend, include and reimburse mindfulness-based stress reduction as an effective treatment for anxiety disorders, as mindfulness meditation is currently by very few service providers“said Elizabeth Hoge, lead author of the study, in a communicated.

A big advantage of mindfulness meditation is that you don’t need to have a clinical degree to train someone to be a mindfulness facilitator.. (…) It is important to note that although mindfulness meditation works, not everyone is willing to invest the time and effort to successfully complete all the necessary sessions and do a regular practice at home, which enhances the effect.“, she finishes.


  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction is as effective as an antidepressant drug for treating anxiety disorders, Georgetown University Medical Center, November 9, 2022
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction vs Escitalopram for the treatment of adults with anxiety disorders, JAMA PsychiatryNovember 9, 2022

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Anxiety disorders: mindfulness meditation as effective as antidepressants

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