Meditation is a method used to clear your mind and to ease your worries and anxiety. But is meditation alone good enough to relieve anxiety? For someone who has anxiety related to the stressors of everyday living, then yes, meditation can be utilized to ease anxiety. Meditation can help clear your mind when your boss is being a jerk, or you have worries about money, or you are just plain stressed-out due to so many things on your schedule.
However, if you have major life stressors and you have an anxiety disorder, then meditation alone will not help you. Anxiety disorders are best dealt with by seeking out a counselor and to engage in therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). For anxiety disorders which don’t respond to therapy or for severe cases, then prescription medication may be required to relieve symptoms.
Meditation will not help you deal with your anxiety disorder. Meditation does have a role in anxiety disorders as an adjunct to therapy. And when therapy is successful and your clinical anxiety disorder is no longer present, then you can continue to resort to meditation as a way to clear your mind when you experience everyday stressors and are dealing with normal, non-clinical anxiety.
The problem with some meditation ‘experts’ is that they teach people that meditation is the solution for all your anxiety. But this is a dangerous and irresponsible message, as people with anxiety disorders are suffering as much as any other person who is suffering from a medical illness. For instance, if you are suffering from diabetes, do you rely on meditation to help get over your medical illness? Of course not- you seek medical treatment, visit with your doctor, and take the prescribed medical treatment, which is a dietary change and oral hypoglycemic drugs for mild cases, or insulin injections for severe cases. By the same rationale, if you suffer from panic disorder, you also seek medical treatment, visit with your psychiatrist, and CBT is started for milder cases, while antidepressant medications are started for severe cases. Meditation does not treat medical illnesses, such as diabetes and anxiety disorders. Giving false information that meditation cures anxiety disorders gives false hope to those who suffer from it. Trying to alleviate an anxiety disorder with meditation alone just leads to bad outcomes and worsening symptoms.
So the next time you hear that meditation can treat all anxiety, you can classify that as a dangerous and irresponsible message. Anxiety disorders require therapy and may require prescription drug treatment. Meditation is only an adjunctive treatment in anxiety disorders.