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Treating Anxiety With Mindfulness

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According to a randomized clinical trial published in JAMA Psychiatry, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has been found to be a well-tolerated treatment option that can be as effective as commonly prescribed anxiety medications. The study involved 276 adults with diagnosed anxiety disorders that were randomly assigned to either an eight-week MBSR course or treatment with escitalopram, a first-line anxiety medication. Anxiety levels were assessed using the Clinical Global Impression of Severity scale (CGI-S). 

At the end of the study, both the MBSR and escitalopram groups experienced a reduction in their mean CGI-S score, with no significant difference between the two groups. MBSR was well-tolerated, with no dropouts due to adverse events, whereas a higher percentage of participants in the escitalopram group reported adverse events. The results demonstrated that MBSR was not inferior to escitalopram in reducing anxiety symptoms.

An estimated 301 million people worldwide are affected by anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic and agoraphobia, causing significant distress, impairing functioning and elevating the risk of suicide.