Treatments for Anxiety: Meditation and Escitalopram

Our online study compares different treatment options for anxiety disorders. As a participant in the study, you will have a 50/50 chance of being assigned to one of two treatments: A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course or an anti-depressant medication. Treatment is provided at no cost.

IRB Approval #: CR00001951

Georgetown University Medical Center
Principal Investigator
Elizabeth Hoge, MD, MSc
Eligibility Criteria
  • Any gender, between ages 18 and 75 years old
  • Have a primary anxiety disorder, including: social anxiety disorder (SAD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, or agoraphobia
  • Must understand study procedure and willing to participate in all testing visits, and treatment as assigned
  • Participants must be able to give informed consent to the study procedures
Exclusion Criteria
  • Comorbid psychiatric disorder other than anxiety or depression, such as psychotic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders (i.e., anorexia or bulimia), bipolar disorder; developmental or organic mental disorders; and current (past 6 months) substance use disorders and current post-traumatic stress disorder as assessed by clinician at screening visit 
  • A serious medical condition that may result in surgery or hospitalization.

  • A history of head trauma causing prolonged loss of consciousness, or ongoing cognitive impairment
  • Inability to understand study procedures or informed consent process, or significant personality dysfunction likely to interfere with study participation (assessed during the clinical interview).  
  • Subjects who will be non-compliant with the study procedures. This may include planned travel out of town/inability to make time commitments.

  • Pregnancy as assessed by urine test at screen. Avoidance of pregnancy is also necessary for inclusion in this study. 
  • Subjects taking barbiturates, SSRIs, anti-depressants, stimulants, antipsychotics, or sedative medications. Sleep medications (other than anti-depressants) and benzodiazepines will be allowed, if has been taken at stable dose 4 weeks prior to baseline and the patient plans to continue at the same dose through the trial. Trazadone (for sleep) above 100mg will be disallowed. SSRI medication within 4 weeks of baseline if patient has been taking them regularly for 6 months or more will be disallowed. Fluoxetine within 6 weeks of baseline appointment will be disallowed. 
  • Concurrent psychotherapy initiated within 1 month of screen interview, or ongoing psychotherapy of any duration directed specifically toward the treatment of anxiety (such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).

  • Individuals who have completed a course of MBSR or an equivalent meditation training in the past year, or who have an ongoing daily meditation practice.  
  • Individuals reporting significant active suicidal ideation or suicidal behaviors within the past year.
  • Individuals with a medical condition (i.e., epilepsy) that may be exacerbated by study treatment, as determined by a study physician or nurse practitioner based on history, physical, and/or labs.
Boston, New York, Washington, DC
Study End Date