Meditation vs. Medication – What’s the Best Treatment for Stress-related Anxiety?

From raising kids to keeping up at work or school, our lives are full of challenges that stress us out. When that stress leads to ongoing anxiety, it can have a debilitating effect on our daily lives. Professional treatment can help, but what type of care is right for you?

Traditional Medicine

“There are times when anxiety becomes such a barrier that you can’t work on these things,” Beach says. In these cases, medication can restore patients’ ability to make lifestyle changes.

Integrative therapy

Aditi Nerurkar, MD, medical director of the center, describes these therapies as complementary to traditional medicine. “This is why we’re called ‘integrative medicine,’ not ‘alternative medicine,’” she says.

But how does meditation help?

“Meditation is about bringing your attention to your breathing. Research shows breathing is a good tool for allowing us to feel centered and ‘in-the-moment.’ Anxiety is a future emotion – it’s the ‘what-if’ syndrome – so if you bring yourself to the present, you can get out of that future-based thinking.”

Still, many patients seek out non-traditional therapies as a way to improve their health, Nerurkar says.

“Patients are very accepting of integrative medicine,” Nerurkar says. “By and large, the physician community is totally embracing it as well.”

If stress and anxiety are getting the best of you, make sure to discuss your options with your doctor. You may be able to restore your balance with a balanced approach to care.