Anxiety Research

Therapy v medication? How to choose the best treatment for anxiety

Medication is often prescribed as a quick-fix but therapy can be more helpful in the long-run, if accessible. Here’s how to work out what is best for youSince the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a soaring demand for mental health services, with an estimated 1.6 million people in England waiting for specialised support, and another 8 million who would benefit but whose deterioration in mental health is not considered serious enough to even get on the waiting list. Anxiety rates have been recorded as rising significantly between 2008 (the year of the financial crash) and 2018, with increases in all age groups under 55, but trebling in young adults.The number of prescriptions issued for anti-anxiety medication has also been rising. Earlier this year, research was published showing that between 2003 and 2008 the use of drugs to treat anxiety was steady, but by 2018 it had risen considerably. During that earlier period, new anti-anxiety prescriptions rose from 25 or 26 per 1,000 person years at risk – a measure of the prevalence of anxiety – to 43.6 in 2018. Nearly twice the number of women are being prescribed medication as men. Continue reading…

Psychedelics may lessen fear of death and dying, similar to feelings reported by those who’ve had near death experiences

In a survey study of more than 3,000 adults, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers compared psychedelic experiences with near-death experiences that were not drug related and found notable similarities in people’s attitudes toward death. Survey participants in both groups reported having less fear of death and dying after the experience. They also reported that the experience had a lasting positive effect, providing personal meaning, spiritual significance and psychological insight.
The study was published Aug. 24, 2022 in the journal PLOS ONE.
The results are consistent with several recent clinical trials showing that a single treatment with the psychedelic psilocybin produced sustained decreases in anxiety and depression among patients with a life-threatening cancer diagnosis. The largest of these trials (Griffiths et al., 2016) was conducted at Johns Hopkins Medicine by the authors of this survey. That study, a randomized trial of 51 patients with cancer who had clinically significant anxiety or depressive symptoms, demonstrated that receiving a controlled, high dose of psilocybin given with supportive psychotherapy resulted in significant increases in ratings of death acceptance, as well as decreases in anxiety about death.
For the present study, the researchers analyzed data gathered from 3,192 people who answered an online survey between December 2015 and April 2018. Participants were divided into groups: 933 individuals had non-drug-related near-death experiences, and the rest of the participants had psychedelic experiences, which were prompted by either lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) (904), psilocybin (766), ayahuasca (282) or N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) (307). Participants were predominantly white (85%) and mostly from the United States. Compared with the non-drug group, there were more men in the psychedelic group (78% versus 32%), and they tended to be younger (32 versus 55 years of age) at the time of the experience.
Similarities between the groups include: About 90% of participants in both groups reported a decrease in fear of death when considering changes in their views from before to after the experience. Most participants in both groups (non-drug group, 85%; psychedelics group, 75%) rated the experience to be among the top five most personally meaningful and spiritually significant of their life. Participants in both groups reported moderate to strong persisting positive changes in personal well-being and life purpose and meaning.Differences between the groups include: The non-drug group was more likely to report that their life was in danger (47% versus the psychedelics group, 3%), being medically unconscious (36% versus the psychedelics group, 10%), or being clinically dead (21% versus the psychedelics group, less than 1%). The non-drug group was more likely to report that their experience was very brief, lasting five minutes or less (40% versus the psychedelics group, 7%).The researchers say that future studies are needed to better understand the potential clinical use of psychedelics in ameliorating suffering related to fear of death.
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Materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Exercise and Social Anxiety – does it help?

Hi, Last year we did some investigating in scientific journals about whether or not exercise can help reduce social anxiety. You can read what we found out here. The TL;DR version is that we found that exercise can help alleviate social anxiety by increasing your feel good hormones, increasing self-efficacy and by acting as a distraction. A […]
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