Anxiety: meditation or medication?

  • The beneficial impact of mindfulness meditation on stress and anxiety has already been proven.The beneficial impact of mindfulness meditation on stress and anxiety has already been proven.

The results of a recent clinical study, published in the prestigious medical journal JAMA Psychiatryshows that the practice of mindful meditation can have the same effects as an antidepressant on anxiety… And without side effects!

With the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of patients with anxiety disorders (generalized or social anxiety, phobias and panics like agoraphobia, etc.) has increase around 25% worldwide according to the WHO. In 2021, according to the latest figures from Inserm, 21% of French adults (including twice as many women) have already been affected, during their lifetime, by one of these psychic pathologiesand one in four adolescents (11-15 years old) could suffer from generalized anxiety according to a surveyand Ipsos. To these alarming figures, it should be added that the treatment of these disorders is done with psychotherapy, but also through antiodepressants or anxiolytics with numerous adverse effects (including on the youngest), especially when taken long term.

Recall that there are natural solutions and complementary to psychotherapy that deserve to be explored, such as thearomatherapy and the herbal medicineI’acupunctureor even the practice of mindfulness meditation. A recent Franco-American study, published in JAMA Psychiatryhas also compared the effectiveness of this type of exercise to that of a antidepressant for anxiolytic use, escitalopram (trade names: Lexapro, Cipralex, Sipralexa, Seroplex).

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Effective meditation for anxiety

If thebeneficial impact of mindfulness meditation on stress and anxiety has already been proven by several clinical studies, it has only rarely been studied in comparison with reference drugs. To do this, the Franco-American scientific team recruited 276 patients, separated into two groups: one taking an anxiolytic treatment (escitalopram) and the other practicing daily 45 minutes of mindful meditation after having been trained there.

After eight weeks, both groups felt the same significant drop of about 30% in their level of anxiety. The researchers thus encourage their medical colleagues to redirect their patients towards this gentler, less expensive solution, which really involves the patient in his recovery.. Good news knowing that escitalopram, like its peers, causes a myriad of side effects including nausea, sexual dysfunction or drowsiness.

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Anxiety: meditation or medication?

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