No meds needed: Anxiety, stress can be eliminated by doing this every week

WASHINGTON — Pharmaceutical companies may need a dose of their own medications. A new study finds the best treatment for anxiety may not come from your local pharmacy, but rather a quiet room in your home. The study, published in the journal Psychiatry Research, reports that eight-weeks of mindfulness meditation can be crucially beneficial for those who suffer from anxiety.

Researchers from the Georgetown University Medical Center selected 89 people who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder to undergo one of two different forms of treatment. One group took an eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course, which centered around meditation, and then determined whether or not it helped them relax. Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn created the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, which has now helped nearly 25,000 participants according to the University of Massachusetts website.

Those in the control group took an eight-week stress management education course, which centers more on habits such as diet, sleep, and general wellness.

Before and after the study, partcipants underwent the Trier Social Stress Test, a common experimental practice for inducing a stress response. Participants are asked on a moment’s notice to perform one of the most anxiety-causing tasks for many people: give a speech in front of an audience.

Mindfulness meditation ‘can improve resilience to stress’

The results were significantly different. The researchers reported that the mindfulness meditation routine resulted in a decrease of stress-related hormones and cell-signaling proteins when performing the speech after the experiment. Patients in the control group showed their anxiety actually worsened after having to do the task the second time.

“We were testing the patients’ resilience, because that’s really the ultimate question—can we make people handle stress better?” says lead author Dr. Elizabeth A. Hoge, associate professor in Georgetown University Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry, in a release.

It became clear that mindfulness meditation was vital to the substantial drop in anxiety symptoms for the first group.

“Mindfulness meditation training is a relatively inexpensive and low-stigma treatment approach, and these findings strengthen the case that it can improve resilience to stress,” says Hoge.

Can mindfulness help other disorders too?

These results aren’t too surprising, being that a Harvard study released similar results in 2009, which also regarded MBSR. However in this study, participants were not diagnosed with GAD Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or any other stress-related disorder.

“Stressed but otherwise healthy individuals participated in an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction intervention”, the study noted. The Harvard research report went on to state that the MBSR correlated directly with reduced activity in the amygdala, a portion of the brain that stimulates stress.

According to the release, “Hoge hopes ultimately to expand the study of mindfulness-related treatments to other psychiatric conditions, and to compare such treatments to standard psychiatric drug therapies.”

Comments

  1. The gut has it’s own brain……Look it up. Most stress and anxiety related symptoms come from it. It produces chemicals and hormones that affect the brain that can trigger anxiety and stress. Try going on a gut diet (Serotonin Diet for the Gut). I’m sure it won’t help everyone but it is worth the try……..sure can’t hurt!

    -B

  2. There’s really nothing new here. I have taught these techniques for years to people diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder and anxiety related to other disorders under various names depending on the personality, education, and need of the patient/client. Self-hypnosis, meditation, relaxation therapy, mindfulness, deep prayer—all are names I have used for the same process. Some people with serious mental disorders—such as schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, when also treated with medications and enjoying freedom from symptoms—have also found the technique calming and useful.

  3. One is not a failure or lazy if one needs the help of drugs. That’s my point, here. If something works for you, that’s wonderful. We are all happy but no need to beat up those for which it does not work or tell them they are “poisoning” themselves.

  4. There seems to be a bit of confusion about “Mindfulness Meditation”. It has nothing to do with any “Zen” or religion or anything else. It’s basically about clearing your mind and yes, it’s just one of many ways to accomplish that. I can attest to it’s usefulness in my case. I was misdiagnosed as having epileptic seizures and fed all kinds of drugs for over two years. I had to travel 800 miles to get a second opinion and discovered that it was severe anxiety attacks. Changed my diet, eschewed caffeine, practiced “Mindfulness Meditation” and learned to breath better. The “seizures” are gone but I still get the anxiety at times. I can usually control it through breathing exercises and meditation but on bad days might need a half of a Xanax. The point is, yes it’s all in your head. It’s just difficult to get it out at times.

    1. Eventually you will build up tolerance to it, and keep having to increase dosage until it no longer works. It temporarily damages the CNS/immune system. Go to benzobuddies.org. Taper off these poison pills, you will be amazed at the damage they do. I’m 2.5 yrs out and still suffering nerve pain, weakness, insomnia, cramping in spine and legs.

  5. One of the reasons that California was unable to introduce Meditation into public schools for kids is that The “proof” that mediation “works” to reduce stress and clear the mind is mostly subjective. The scientific tests show it’s no better than just resting in a quiet area for an equal amount of time. The rest is faith-based mumbo jumbo.; There is clearly a problem of millions of people over medicating themselves, but many people have genuine disorders that cannot be effectively treated with vitamins, diet, exercise, tai chi, etc.

  6. One thing is for sure: After hearing the side effects of some of these Rx medicines I’d try meditation before I’d EVER stick any of that garbage in my mouth!

  7. It is called being human. You don’t need a pill for anxiety.
    Ever wonder how our ancestors conquered an entire continent?
    They didn’t even have a clue they were anxious. It took medical science
    to invent a pseudo-problem requiring a solution..a pill no less.

    1. It is misleading and no one knows, really knows what others go through. Some anxiety is even situational and one may not be able to change the situation enough due to obligations and illness, constant pain. Obsessive thoughts cannot always be driven away by Zen or even the strongest medications. It is always good to explore but deciding it is the “cure”? It’s not responsible to do so.

  8. In my opinion, Meditation and Yoga share many of the same characteristics. Each focuses on the breath and each requires a regular practice. Please do not be mislead into thinking 8 weeks, whew! I’m done. No, you’re not, but if you continue to practice it will grow on you and eventually coworkers and loved ones will remark on the positive changes they notice about you. Definitely worth the time investment.

  9. I love how liberals claim to be the protectors of science yet they are the ones I see promoting junk science every day.

  10. Anxiety is a result of vividly IMAGINING things you don’t want to happen in your life. Some make it more of a habit than others. The antidote is to LEARN how to direct your focus, something that can be taught. But why take the time to develop and expand something empowering within yourself when you can blame someone or something else, right? I have to chuckle at psychology’s attempt to co-opt the ancient disciplines of meditation and slap the label of “mindfulness” on it. Let’s face it: psychologists and psychiatrists are often of little help here because they view people as broken, put them in boxes, then follow a predetermined course of action according to the label on that box (rather than approach each person as an individual who builds their “problems” uniquely). Also, psychiatry is the only medical profession that prescribes drugs for an organ they usually never even bother to test. Neurotransmitter deficiencies can be addressed with amino acid therapy but of course MDs wouldn’t know that because they spend less than 2 weeks on nutrition in their Big Pharma sponsored “manage the symptoms” training.

  11. Someone was paid to do a study to prove that meditation reduces stress? ROFLMAO!! DUH! Couldn’t they just read a Zen book or something? I mean…isn’t this VERY common knowledge? Shall we conduct a study to prove that unprotected sex can result in pregnancy? (Actually, there is a demographic or two which MIGHT benefit from such a study…but would they ever become aware of such a study’s existence??)

  12. The medicine used for anxiety simple enhances your body’s ability to use what it already has. In this case either seratonin or dopamine. That is all they are doing. Supplementing meditation and other vitamins or vital oils do the same thing. That is why I recommend that a combination of these therapies may be the best course for you to follow. Many of my patients find it easier to ween themselves off of SSRI medication once they have established a consistent routine with the other options. Thank you for the study about treatments that we already know to be effective.

    1. Benzos, SSRI’s, even Lunesta type drugs cause damage to the gaba receptors. I’m one of the unlucky ones who was affected by these poison pills. I’m 2.5 yrs off them and stuff suffering CNS & immune system problems like nerve pain, leg weakness, spine and leg cramps, dry skin, insomnia, and many other sx’s. No one should be prescribed these pills unless absolutely necessary. God gave us all the natural foods/plants we need to heal our bodies. If you want to see the damage being done to thousands by these pills, go to benzobuddies.org. They ruin lives, destroy marriages, financial ruin, and obviously health. I pray one day to be healthy again. Become ‘benzo-wise’ Dr.

  13. Psychiatric care is about profits more than health. It’s about the easiest way to keep a long term patient. Drugs is one way to do it. Another is gender reassignment surgery. Why do the hard work involved in finding the underlying problem when you can tell a person they have no problem let’s just mutilate your body into what you want it to be and bingo I get a lifetime patient. Follow the money.

  14. Someone with a genuine anxiety disorder is not capable of mindfulness. The physical anxiety symptoms and racing thoughts win out every time.

    1. Not True. I know of many with GAD that can practice this. It basically stems from instilling a true “belief”
      that they can.

      1. Wouldn’t it depend on the severity of anxiety and other factors? Why does it have to be one or the other? I can understand it helping and needing less medication.

    2. Meditation or medication is different for everybody. My partner has anxiety and “meditation” using her laptop, headphones and web sites for the purpose work for her many times. Some attacks that are more severe require medication however. My preference would be to try and become more meditation-centric over time to try and eliminate a pills only regimen. It just seems it would be more healthy all around.

    3. I still struggle with anxiety, but was MUCH worse than I currently am. Mindfulness does help. And talking with a counselor about it helped for me, too. But at first, when it was really bad, I basically cut out all un-needed things, and used mindfulness to learn to get through the basics. Work and grocery shopping. Those were the basics. Then once I used mindfulness to reduce anxiety over those basics, and got to the point that I was comfortable with those things, then I started adding other things back in. As long as I could get control over each added thing before adding another, the new one was usually not too bad, and the anxiety stayed down. If one area of life started adding anxiety, I needed to get control over it before it started to make me anxious in other things again, sometimes by cutting back in activities for a little while, or by possibly cutting out the anxiety-causing area for the time being (as long as it wasn’t a basic). Now I am pretty much back to living a normal life. I still make some accommodations for myself, such as sitting on the end of the row vs. in the middle, and not expecting myself to do everything or live up to social standards. But it works for me. No meds.

    4. Not true at all, but someone with severe anxiety may need closer instruction than someone with lesser anxiety. The efficacy of meditation/mindfulness has been well studied.

    5. Throckmorton thankyou for speaking the truth. These idiots have no clue how difficult it is for someone dealing with severe anxiety and depression. Medication were a lifesaver for my wife. She went from a very active person to paralysis. It took 3 years to find the right combination of medication to bring her back to a normal life. The meds do not cure but help individuals to have a decent quality of life and probably allow the patient to get to a point where they can respond to meditation techniques to improve their day to day living.

  15. Quote: ” Mindfulness meditation training is a relatively inexpensive and low-stigma treatment approach..” Relatively? Here’s a FREE tip: Sit on the floor..BREATH..slowly..for 20 mins a day. LOL

      1. Then just meditate on Jesus’s name. Meditation is part of every culture including Christianity. Just because ia technique comes from China or India doesn’t mean it’s anti-Christian. Give up your foolish beliefs and embrace the universality of all humanity.
        Just because gravity was discovered by an Englishman doesn’t make it English. And just because relativity was discovered by A Jew does not make it Jewish.
        Meditation works. Period.

        1. We taught Christian meditation at a camp I worked at one summer in college. We meditated on scriptures, on Jesus, etc., and learned how to clear our minds of distractions so that we could be more focused on God. The Bible even talks about meditating on the scriptures. So, yeah, Doc, I agree with you. It is part of many cultures and not in the least bit anti-Christian. Unless you are meditating on something evil, but that is a choice a person has and isn’t to be blamed on the act of meditation itself. As a Christian, I wouldn’t go meditate with a group that is focusing on something anti-Christian. I’d really prefer to just do it ‘alone’, with God.

        2. yes, prayer is also meditation. It’s Biblical & TRUE Christian believers should already know this….whatever kind of “mindfullness”works, it doesn’t matter what you call it….

      2. For a start MBSR is not Zen. Secondly, Zen, strictly speaking, falls outside of any religious or philosophical tradition.
        Finally, there are many Christian traditions that use meditation techniques similar to MBSR or a stillness meditation called Shamatha. They have even been studied in fMRI studies of the efficacy of meditation.

  16. WHAT!!!!!!! you can naturally calm yourself? GTFO. Amazing we have been able to control the human body for centuries. How is that possible? SMH

  17. People are lazy. They want an easy pill. You got to know that. I have a book on this issue but it requires work to read and work to do it. Sorry, it’s not happening if there are pills you can pop in less than one second and you can actually feel the result. No comparison!

    1. From 16 yrs of personal experience the drugs are not very effective. But certain supplements do. Omega3 DHA and NAC. Drug companies can’t make bundles of $$$. We pay so the rest of the world can have cheap drugs.

      1. The CURE:
        Anxiety is caused by the mercury in your teeth fillings, which leads to fungus in body, aka systemic candida. This candida fungus produces waste product that is what actually causes anxiety, and pain, which is most often called Firbromyalgia. Don’t bother with MDs, they aren’t trained for mercury or fungus. They think mercury is great, and causes no problems. Mercury causes many diseases, see Chronic mercury symptoms. I had shingles for 30 years, 2x per month, along with anxiety and fibromyalgia. It all vanished after I had mercury fillings removed and chelated mercury from my body. MDs can go jump off a cliff, you’re good for nothing but emergency medicine. Cure for anxiety, and much more, is to have mercury fillings replaced, then chelate mercury out of your brain and body using Andrew Cutler protocol, ONLY. Do nothing else, especially anything your MD says, you’ve been warned, you’ll be up to your armpits is depression pills (usually fluoride based and very toxic), and will feel like killing everyone, including yourself. Temporary relieve of anxiety can be had using St. John’s Wort. But you have to remove the mercury to regain health and energy. Don’t bother with hair test or blood test, very unreliable, just follow Cutler protocol until you feel recovered. – 35 years of hell with MDs is my experience and credentials. Lastly, if you have crowns on teeth, don’t waste time, have it removed to see if mercury is underneath crown. Its essential there is no mercury remaining under your crowns. Essential.

        1. Close, it’s caused by dysbiosis in the intestines and the interuption of the mood affecting neurotransmitters housed there. Candida overgrowth is one mechanism that causes this dysbiosis. Look at the GAPs diet or the recent works of neurologist David Perlmutter.

        2. “using Andrew Cutler protocol, ONLY.”

          BS, stop trying to sell people on your, “Miracle” Panacea. Mercury is certainly a contributor, but so are a lot of other contributing factors. Stop trying to oversimplify very complex things, with lots of variables in play.

        3. There are as many different kinds of anxiety as there are different kinds of medications. Most anxiety medications stop working over time and you have to either change or find something else. We have doctors saying, exercise is the key, intestines is the key, meditation is the key, mindfulness is the key. We are exposed to 10,000 different chemicals a day in normal life and we are going to worry about mercury in our fillings? I had to have all my teeth pulled and it didn’t matter one bit except then I had anxiety about having no teeth until I got implants. Our lives are stressful..always have been stressful even cave men had LOTS of stress, predators, lack of food. It is what we do..stress. Not making light of people’s stress, it can be debilitating but to claim there is one cause for everyone’s stress is like witch doctors who thought stressed people were possessed by demons.

          1. I think you’ve summed it pretty well, Sue. There is not one cause of everything, just like there is not one cure for everything. The mind is the space between the cells. By calming the mind, the entire system benefits, it’s that simple. It helps; some folks more or less than others. But calming a mindset can help, and we need all the help we can get–plus it’s in our heads, so no co-pays, deductibles or side effects!

      2. Jim, from 30 years of professional experience, I can only agree that the medications do not work well, except for very short term symptom relief. IE They are sometimes the best thing for an isolated phobia with infrequent exposure (fear of flying). All the medications though focus on the “symptoms are a bad thing, they must be controlled model”- so they raise your intolerance of the symptoms to ever higher levels. The mindfulness approach is quite different in that it encourages you to be a disinterested observer of the symptoms and to observe them in as great a depth of detail as possible. It also helps you see that the symptoms are accompanied by the co-arising of negative thought patterns (catastrophising) and that these negative thought patterns AND the physical symptoms actually extinguish as you observe them in minute detail (observing just the physical sensation without labelling them as , say, pounding heart.

    2. I agree with you Dan, but it is empirical studies as this that may help. Help so it is not as easy to write a script, and help the entire community (whether it be on the clinical side, or the “consumer” side) change their bad habits! Now to work on the Big Pharma Pill Pushing Cartel…

      1. It is a matter of finding out what works for YOU. If taking a pill works and your anxiety is over the top, why wouldn’t you take it if it is safe to take? Anxiety.

    3. Very sad to hear this. I agree that people are lazy, but the side effects of medication is absolutely disgusting and horrible. We always have everything we need inside us to heal.

      1. That is a ridiculous statement. IF it were so, no one would die from cancer, tuberculosis, or auto immune diseases. We do NOT always have everything we need to heal “inside” us. Everyone dies and millions of people’s lives are short circuited due to horrific anxiety. Making people feel guilty for trying or taking medication so they can have a normal life or some semblance of a life is just WRONG. All drugs do NOT have” horrible” side effects. “Side effects” are also known as cures for some things. If there were no changes at all, then you might as well eat toe jam. People eat MSG, fake fat, tons of sugar and all KINDS of preservatives, many which are unknown to them..all chemicals, so they aren’t supposed to take a drug that might help them? If you don’t need any drugs, just say that. Don’t intimate or outright say, drugs are all BAD.

        1. Sue, I agree with you and thank-you for putting common sense into this discussion. I thank God for my meds. Were it not for them, I believe I would be gone. I went twenty years refusing meds for my depression and anxiety, which made life very hard for me, and my family. I refused them because I believed God would ‘fix’ me if I prayed hard enough and believed hard enough. I wanted to give Him every chance to do it. So when the twentieth year came and still no deliverance, I decided to give an anti-depressant/anti-anxiety med a try and if it didn’t work then I would stop taking it and my life would have continued to be the same and I would have to believe God wanted me to be that way forever. Thankfully the pill worked and I have a life now. A good life. It’s been 20 years since I took that first pill and I am the exact same person, only I don’t get up every day feeling like I can’t go on. My anxiety stays under control, except it acts up in the winter months, so I make sure to get outside in the sun as much as possible and I pray more. My biggest regret was not being willing to try a med sooner. I now know that just like I need bp meds to help with my hypertension, I also need meds for my depression and anxiety. Both meds serve a purpose and I am grateful they have helped me, even if they aren’t a cure. In the end, I believe it was God that gave me permission to take a med and I’m glad I acted on it.

    4. Jesus said: “Take no thought for your life” In other words, it is your thoughts that precipitate feelings, which then deceive you and then instigates the sympathetic nervous system. The saying: “It’s in all your head” is true. Get out of your head (control thoughts) and walla no anxiety.

    5. Blaming the patient is not helpful. The problem is the medical profession which is quick to hand out Rx drugs for anything and everything. The docs are the lazy ones, not wanting to spend time with the patients to learn what’s really bothering them. They also rarely suggest patients do things like meditation or any other non-drug approach. Btw, nice shameless plug for your book which I’m sure is pretty worthless.

    6. I recently have come down with some muscle wasting disease they have not figured it out yet it makes It seem as thought gravity has been cranked up 500% effecting the whole body as well as the mind. I am a single father of three daughters my stress level went through the roof because even though I felt I could just drop dead any minuet I still had and have to maintain, work, and pay the bills. I have been put on steroids to slow or stop the muscle degeneration so now I am functioning at about 87%. I still have many test to go and not sure if it is something I will have to live with as it progresses or if caused by a tumor that can be removed and cure me. I am taking 1 mg Ativan twice a day to help me deal with the stress other wise I would be having a nervous break down. I do sit out in the sun while eating my breakfast as a form of meditation it also helps. Not all people taking the pill are junkies looking for a easy way out. I exercise eat a low fat high protein diet, only complex carbohydrates. This stuff Is really scary because as a father my mission is not complete I would like to live and see my daughters graduate from college have kids get married….

      1. You take whatever you need that your feel is safe for you and without guilt..PLEASE. No one has the right to pass judgement on others, not even if they have “walked in their shoes”. I am wishing you the best and thinking of you and your girls. Don’t listen to people who would make you feel guilty for seeking relief so you can function and take care of your family, PLEASE.

        1. Sue, you make tremendous sense! Thank you. Edward, you have to do what works for you right now. Sometimes life is so overwhelming that we get caught up, cannot focus on what is truly best for us in the long run, so deal with the short run, don’t feel guilty, try to take care of yourself now; then later, you may be able to make some changes that you desire. It sounds like you are a good father, your girls are lucky they have you. Love them; love yourself; it’s okay.

      1. Now that was funny and it is also practical! I guarantee you if our ancestors had drugs they would have been nicer people and certainly more productive and comfortable people. Maybe they wouldn’t have put all those people in stocks or drawn and quartered them.

    7. Or maybe everyone and their grandfather have written self-help books and they range from common sense platitudes to mystical nonsense and people don’t want to read every one, nor do they know how to pick just one. But your cluelessly arrogant lecturing will certainly solve their problems.

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