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HHS HealthBeat (February 7, 2014)

Meditation, anxiety and depression

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

A review of medical studies indicates some people who learn mindfulness meditation gain somewhat lower levels of anxiety, depression and pain. Researcher Madhav Goyal of Johns Hopkins University saw this in 47 studies involving more than 3,500 people.

“We found about a 5 to 10 percent improvement in symptoms of anxiety and about a 10 to 20 percent improvement in symptoms of depression.”

Goyal says that most participants had mild symptoms of anxiety or depression. And he notes that meditation was not created as a treatment, but to increase awareness and insight. But he says the improvements came after relatively little training.

The study in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine was supported by HHS’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: February 7, 2014