A study from Georgetown University found that mindfulness meditation is one of the most effective ways and at a lower cost to combat anxiety, a medical condition that affects approximately 8% of the mexican population (page 17).
The generalized anxiety disorder occurs when you feel stressed or worried in excess, even when the stressors are not present. The study, rigorously designed and sponsored by the NIH (National Institute of Health of USA), was led by a team of researchers from the University Medical Center of Georgetown. The same, he found physiological evidence objective that the medication of consciousness full combat anxiety.
The researchers found that the patients had drastically reduced the production of stress hormones and the inflammatory response to stressful situations after taking a course of meditation of full awareness. The control group taking a course of stress control that did not include meditation and had a response slightly negative.
“The meditation of mindfulness is relatively inexpensive and a treatment without stigma and these findings prove that you can improve your resilience against stress,” said principal investigator Elizabeth A. Hoge, associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry of the University Medical Center of Georgetown.
The study included 89 patients with generalized anxiety disorder. The researchers separated randomly to the patients in two groups: one that took a course of eight weeks of stress reduction based on meditation and the other-the control group – who took an eight week course of Education in the Management of Stress, which included information on nutrition, sleep habits and other health issues. Both courses had similar formats but only one included the techniques of meditation.
Many previous experiments that sought to investigate the effectiveness of meditation compared meditation groups with groups without treatment. Since the participants of such studies are not “blinded” (you know, if you are being treated or not) is likely to be affected by the placebo effect.
In this study, said Hoge, the participants had no bias of expectations, because everyone was assigned a treatment and were not told which of the treatments was of interest to the researchers.
Before and after the courses, participants took the Test, Trier Social Stress, an experimental technique to produce stress, in which participants are asked to give a public speech without preparation, and other instructions that induce stress.
“We are testing the resilience of patients,” said Hoge, “because that is the question: Can we make people to manage stress better?”.
For the stress test, the computer monitored based markers in the blood of stress responses, mainly of the stress hormone ACTH and the inflammatory proteins IL-6 and TNF-α. The control group showed only modest increases in the second test, compared to the first, suggesting a worsening of the anxiety of having to face the test again. In contrast, the meditation group showed large declines in these markers in the second test, suggesting that training in meditation had helped them to deal with the test.
Hoge and his colleagues have also found -as had been reported in a research oldest – that the patients in the meditation group -compared with the control – experienced significant reductions in their perception of the stress after taking the course. The study provides more data to make it clear that mindfulness meditation is a good method of treating anxiety, said Hoge.
Hoge hopes to expand the study of treatments based on meditation to other psychiatric conditions and to compare such treatments therapies based on drugs.