Research has shown that meditation may be helpful in the treatment of anxiety and depression
Read on to find out!
Emerging research is providing good evidence for the efficacy of meditation and mindfulness practices in the treatment of anxiety, depression and pain. In fact, researchers of the most recent study looking into the utility of meditation when it comes to mental health and psychiatric conditions have even gone so far to suggest that meditation may be as beneficial as antidepressants, and has one clear advantage: no harm or adverse side effects.
Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.
Goyal M, Singh S, Sibinga EMS, Gould NF, Rowland-Seymour A, Sharma R, Berger Z, Sleicher D, Maron D, Shihab HM, Ranasinghe PD, Linn S, Saha S, Bass EB, Haythornwaite JA.
January 6 2014, JAMA Internal Medicine
Importance Many people meditate to reduce psychological stress and stress-related health problems. To counsel people appropriately, clinicians need to know what the evidence says about the health benefits of meditation.
Objective To determine the efficacy of meditation programs in improving stress-related outcomes (anxiety, depression, stress/distress, positive mood, mental health–related quality of life, attention, substance use, eating habits, sleep, pain, and weight) in diverse adult clinical populations.
Evidence Review We identified randomized clinical trials with active controls for placebo effects through November 2012 from MEDLINE, PsycINFO, EMBASE, PsycArticles, Scopus, CINAHL, AMED, the Cochrane Library, and hand searches. Two independent reviewers screened citations and extracted data. We graded the strength of evidence using 4 domains (risk of bias, precision, directness, and consistency) and determined the magnitude and direction of effect by calculating the relative difference between groups in change from baseline. When possible, we conducted meta-analyses using standardized mean differences to obtain aggregate estimates of effect size with 95% confidence intervals.
Findings After reviewing 18 753 citations, we included 47 trials with 3515 participants. Mindfulness meditation programs had moderate evidence of improved anxiety (effect size, 0.38 [95% CI, 0.12-0.64] at 8 weeks and 0.22 [0.02-0.43] at 3-6 months), depression (0.30 [0.00-0.59] at 8 weeks and 0.23 [0.05-0.42] at 3-6 months), and pain (0.33 [0.03- 0.62]) and low evidence of improved stress/distress and mental health–related quality of life. We found low evidence of no effect or insufficient evidence of any effect of meditation programs on positive mood, attention, substance use, eating habits, sleep, and weight. We found no evidence that meditation programs were better than any active treatment (ie, drugs, exercise, and other behavioral therapies).
Conclusions and Relevance Clinicians should be aware that meditation programs can result in small to moderate reductions of multiple negative dimensions of psychological stress. Thus, clinicians should be prepared to talk with their patients about the role that a meditation program could have in addressing psychological stress. Stronger study designs are needed to determine the effects of meditation programs in improving the positive dimensions of mental health and stress-related behavior.
Links to the actual research paper and other articles that have referenced these findings:
- " Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis." (JAMA Internal Medicine)
- "Meditation for Anxiety and Depression?" (John Hopkins Medicine)
- "For Depression Treatment, Meditation Might Rival Medication" (Forbes Magazine)
- "Is Meditation the New Antidepressant? Mindfulness Practice May Be More Beneficial Than Drugs For Anxiety, Depression" (National Post)