Meditation may help with anxiety and depression according to an analysis of previous findings on the practice. It may even provide the same relief experienced when taking antidepressants for people with symptoms of anxiety and depression.
A review of 47 studies showed a 5 to 10 percent reduction in anxiety symptoms and a 10 to 20 percent improvement in depression in individuals who meditated compared with placebo groups, according to research published today in JAMA Internal Medicine. The analysis also suggests that meditation improved pain, though it was not clear as to which types of pain benefit the most.The findings of support the use of “mindfulness” meditation as a way to moderate the need for medications to treat anxiety and depression, said Allan Goroll, a professor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in an accompanying editorial per Bloomberg. Mindfulness meditation is a form practiced between 30 to 40 minutes a day that teaches a person to become more aware of their breathing, emotions, and thoughts.
“The findings of such research should be the subject of conversations that need to begin in every examination room and extend to engage the media, who play a key role in determining patient attitudes toward health care and the demand for services,” Goroll wrote.
Researchers reviewed 47 trials through June 2013 of 3,515 individuals. The studies included meditation and evaluated an assortment of mental and physical issues including anxiety, insomnia, heart disease, depression, stress, and chronic pain. The U.S. agency for Healthcare Research and Quality funded the analysis.
There was little evidence in the analysis that meditation improved stress or quality of life and not enough information to show in other areas, such as sleep and weight, substance abuse, were improved with meditation, the authors stated.
If meditation may help with anxiety and depression, it may be worthwhile to try for those seeking an alternative form of medicine.