Mindfulness Proved More Efficient Than Anxiety Medication: Study
People may face a general fear of dogs, insects, interviews, etc. However, if this fear is overwhelming to an extent that it hampers our day-to-day life causing serious problems in our social interactions and physical health then it can be termed as clinical anxiety. Anxiety can be of different types ranging from phobias, panic disorders and generalized anxiety disorder. Although anxiety can be treated through medications such as clonazepam, escitalopram, etc these medications have a list of side effects. The side effects can include lethargy, increased need for sleep, and disorientation and can be as severe as suicidal ideation. However, recent research by Jama Psychiatry found that mindfulness can be even more efficient in treating anxiety in long term than any anxiety drug. In a randomized clinical trial, 276 adults with anxiety disorders out of 430 individuals were assessed for inclusion, and an eight-week treatment with mindfulness-based stress reduction was proved non-inferior to escitalopram.
A noninferiority design with a prespecified noninferiority margin was used in this randomised clinical trial with therapies for anxiety: meditation and escitalopram [TAME].
Of 430 individuals assessed for inclusion, 276 adults with a diagnosed anxiety disorder were recruited for the trial, and 208 completed the trial. The results after the eight-week trial reached the conclusion that mindfulness-based stress reduction proved to be non-inferior to the anxiety drug, escitalopram.
Mindfulness refers to a state of being that is aware, conscious and in touch with one’s surroundings. It can help control negative emotions, impulsivity, and extreme emotions of hopelessness and can bring in a sense of peace from within. Mindfulness can be practised through meditation, journaling as well as introspection as these help with connecting to one’s reality. Mindfulness activities can also be as simple as doodling or listening to calming music, it is a personal experience and can vary from person to person. It helps us to stop worrying about the past or future and focus on the present. In the case of Anxiety, a sort of distortion occurs caused by fearfulness or panic about uncertain or unfamiliar situations, mindfulness helps our body reach a state of homeostasis by releasing certain chemicals in our brain that change our mood. The amygdala controls our body’s stress response during perceived danger, after practising mindfulness, the grey matter in our amygdala can become smaller, leading to stress and anxiety reduction. Mindfulness releases happy chemicals in our brain such as serotonin and endorphins to enhance our mood as well.
Practising mindfulness before resorting to anxiety drugs can be more beneficial in the long run as once a person gets used to regulating their own anxiety then the change is more permanent rather than depending on anxiety drugs that have numerous health risks and side effects.