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Meditation for Addiction: Does it Help? The Benefits of Meditation

Practising reflection meditation also puts us more in alignment with what we really want. Oftentimes, we move through life on autopilot, and we don’t stop to check in with ourselves. During addiction recovery, we are truly on a journey of self-discovery and personal and spiritual growth. Part of that growth comes from taking time to step back from the outside world, and to reflect on ourselves. It is excellent for everyone, but particularly effective for rehabilitation efforts in drug dependence, mental illness, and phobic conditions.

Begin to ponder about the theme, situation, or topic, as well as the feelings and thoughts that came up. This is just one example, but practising reflection meditation can allow us to uncover many limiting beliefs about ourselves. Beliefs such as believing that we are not worthy, believing that we are unlovable, or believing that we need to provide value in order to be accepted. If we want to gain insight and wisdom, grow, and become the most optimal version of ourselves, then we can harness that power from reflection meditation. Enjoy a twice monthly dose of inspiration that includes practices, recipes, numerology, and more.

Reflection Meditation: Reflect on Your Experiences

In addition to relapse prevention, individuals with SUDs must also prepare for coping with a relapse. The evidence of mindfulness in the prevention of relapse is limited by high attrition rates in RCTs. However, they did find statistically significant differences in favor of MBRP on withdrawal/craving symptoms and negative consequences of substance use. The authors call for higher quality RCTs to evaluate the effectiveness of MBIs for relapse prevention. Drug and alcohol addiction can make it difficult for people to cope with everyday stressors without relapsing.

  • With regard to implementation science, many studies to date have measured the effectiveness of brief MBIs due to their relative ease of dissemination.
  • Similarly, functional neuroimaging methods are needed to test novel hypotheses, such as the restructuring reward hypothesis (“Do MBIs restructure the relative responsiveness to drug and natural rewards by increasing functional connectivity between top-down and bottom-up neural circuits?”).
  • One year later, the mindfulness-based program proved to be more effective than the other two in reducing drinking and drug use.
  • Regardless of where you are in recovery, there’s a meditation practice that will best suit you and your needs, and help guide you along your journey of recovery from addiction.

Sara Lazar, a researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital, discovered that the more one practices mindfulness meditation, the thicker the brain becomes in the mid-prefrontal cortex and in the mid-insular region of the brain. Changing your mind (or thought processes) actually causes changes in the brain (Lazar et al. 2005). Intention and attention of focus were the keys to reaching these states, not the number of hours spent on a meditation cushion (Lazar and Siegel 2007). From my own experience and work, I know that regular mindfulness practice allows us to set aside distractions and enter the transformative state of open mind. Polysubstance users that received an MBI next to TAU exhibited improved working memory abilities as well as goal-directed control and increased reflected decision-making, in comparison to a control group [75].

Efficacy of MBIs

In a pilot study, the combination of an MBI with a single ketamine infusion led to decreases of treatment dropout as well as craving scores compared to the MBI alone [103]. However, neuromodulation with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in addition to an MBI in AUD participants has shown that, although the MBI was effective in reducing drinking as well as cue-reactivity, the stimulation did not improve the efficacy of the treatment [35]. First applied for chronic pain, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was the first MBI that was applied in a secular medical setting. Treatment success and positive effects on mood and anxiety led to the development of MBIs utilized for psychiatric disorders and later specifically tailored to addictive disorders [17]. As of today, various MBIs for the treatment of addiction have been developed and investigated [17] [7].

If you find yourself feeling angry, guilty, or hurt, try to notice and acknowledge these feelings, rather than judging yourself for experiencing them. When we engage in the reflection meditation process, we can take a look at what our true values and goals are – not what sounds good, but what is truly authentic to us. There are so many limiting beliefs that inform our daily thoughts and decisions.

Strengthening the Mind-Body Connection

Fourteen percent purported that they were unable to receive their needed services, and 2% say they were unable to access naloxone services. Recovery from addiction is a process; it’s not just about stopping abusing a substance. To stay clean and sober addicts have to examine their past, recognize their mistakes, look into their character, and lead a better addiction meditation life. Changing one’s life is not easy, often painful, even though the changes are for the better. By training the mind to focus in one place and stay in the moment, meditation helps the recovering person relax and move forward. Because of this, reflection meditation affects the brain in positive ways, including creating changes in the prefrontal cortex.

Results indicated that studies with samples of only men experienced larger reductions in levels of craving and stress, and significantly larger increases in levels of mindfulness, compared to studies with samples comprised only of women or studies with samples comprised of women and men. Although the authors did not include a formal search for “gray literature” related to MBI treatment of substance misuse, they noted that funnel plots and Egger’s test analyses suggested that their findings were not likely due to publication bias. At The Recovery Village, we offer a comprehensive addiction treatment program that includes holistic treatment options, including mindfulness meditation, recreational therapies, self-care activities, aftercare services and relapse prevention programs. Contact The Recovery Village to learn about admissions, treatment options and how our programs can help you begin living a substance-free life.

Another benefit of meditation is that it helps you build resilience and develop better coping skills. Going through withdrawal is like riding an emotional roller coaster, and it’s pretty common to feel totally swamped by it all. Through meditation, you can better handle those emotional highs and lows, steering them in a more manageable direction. Learning to meditate can gear you up for the rollercoaster ride of withdrawal and recovery, making it easier to handle.

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Study protocols indicate that further technologically advanced methods have been considered to be effective in augmenting the effect of MBIs as well. Currently undergoing research investigates the effect of virtual reality cue-exposure in addition to an MBI in methamphetamine use disorder patients [104]. Pursuant to this, real-time fMRI neurofeedback in addition to an MBI is presently examined in patients with AUD [105]. Addictioncenter.com notes several other emotional and environmental triggers as well as warning signs for relapse. Notice how many are outcomes of the pandemic, i.e., loss of a loved one, boredom, etc. It causes us to strive toward bettering our lives and our world, and has led to many of the discoveries and inventions that have provided us with a higher quality of life.

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