Anxiety symptoms like restlessness, feelings of worry and dread, and sleep problems, can interfere with daily life, relationships and career goals. Many people get relief using psychiatric medications, but some look to find additional ways of coping with their symptoms. Researchers took adults diagnosed with untreated disorders such as generalized anxiety, panic disorder, or social anxiety, and split them into two randomized groups. One group received a 10 to 20 mg daily dose of Lexapro. The other half was assigned to weekly two-and-a-half hour mindfulness classes — plus 45 minutes of daily meditation homework for eight weeks, as well as a day-long retreat around week five or six.
The participants who took the drugs and those who participated in the meditation program were evaluated using the same clinical scale, and both groups showed about a 20% reduction in the severity of their symptoms.The new study provides another piece of evidence of the potential of the approach. It’s worth noting that longer term adherence to the treatments was higher for participants taking Lexapro than for the meditators. At 24 weeks, just 28% of the group were still doing daily meditation, compared to 52% taking the drugs.
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