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

If you or a loved one are recovering from addiction, you already know that intense emotions and cravings can be difficult to manage. Fortunately, various tools and skills can aid you in your recovery journey. Most of us in addiction recovery are former escape artists looking to avoid the stress and anxiety that comes with daily meditation for addiction life. Being present and mindful helps us learn to cope with reality as it actually is—not how we perceive it. What’s more, incorporating mindfulness exercises into treatment is especially helpful for those of us who have struggled with addiction to alcohol, drugs, porn, unhealthy relationships or other destructive behaviors.

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There was some evidence that hypnotherapy my improve smoking cessation.

Practicing mindfulness in addiction recovery can offer numerous benefits to patients. It can help them to reduce stress and anxiety, improve their emotional regulation and decision-making skills, and enhance their overall well-being. In addition, mindfulness can help patients to build a stronger sense of self-awareness and self-acceptance, which can be incredibly beneficial in the recovery process. For those struggling with addiction, the role of mindfulness in addiction recovery cannot be overstated. It is a vital tool in the process of breaking free from the cycle of substance abuse and reclaiming one’s life.

Physical & Other Health Benefits

Mindfulness enhances emotional intelligence and empathy, which can lead to more meaningful and supportive relationships. Effective communication and the ability to manage interpersonal conflicts without resorting to substance use are valuable skills gained through mindfulness practice. Practicing mindfulness means learning to experience life more fully, with acceptance and an open mind, leading to better decision-making and emotional regulation.

Do A Body Scan

I remember my own struggles with overeating during my addiction recovery journey; I would use food as a coping mechanism when things got tough or as a reward after making progress in therapy sessions. But once I started practicing mindful eating techniques regularly, I noticed that it helped me become more aware of my body’s hunger cues and prevented emotionally driven indulgences. Addiction can be a complex and challenging experience for those who struggle with it.

Mindfulness-based programs for substance use disorders: a systematic review of manualized treatments

Mindfulness training also gives people another tool for handling cravings. In focused meditation, participants choose one of the five senses as the center point of meditation. For example, you may focus on the sound of a bell or the sight of a fire burning in the fireplace.

Make Time In Your Day

For instance, MORE participants are guided to engage in the “chocolate exercise”— an experiential mindfulness practice designed to increase awareness of automaticity and craving [6]. During this exercise, participants are instructed to hold a piece of chocolate close to their nose and lips and become mindful of the arising of craving as they refrain from eating the chocolate. During this exercise, a comparison is made between the urge to swallow the chocolate and craving for addictive substances. Participants are then guided to adopt a metacognitive stance toward their experience and deconstruct the craving into its constituent sensory, affective, and cognitive components, noticing how the craving subsides over time.

mindfulness meditation for addiction recovery

mindfulness meditation for addiction recovery

The brain is the only organ that’s shaped by experience and practice, much like a muscle gets bigger and stronger with exercise. In the past, when you repeatedly engaged in specific thoughts and behaviors that propelled your addiction, you unknowingly shaped your brain in ways that worked against you and prevented you from being mindful. “The findings from this study suggest MORE really can improve outcomes for a lot of people in substance abuse treatment,” Cooperman said.

  • Mindfulness practice can teach individuals to focus on the present, on their surroundings, or to focus solely on immediate physical or emotional sensations.
  • Similarly, mindfulness might need to be practiced on a near daily basis for many years to effectively intervene in addiction and prevent relapse.
  • Many studies had high attrition rates at posttreatment and subsequent follow-ups.
  • This can help you challenge, combat, and ignore harmful thoughts and feelings that can lead to relapse.

Therapeutic effects of MBIs on substance use and relapse prevention may be mediated by the effects of mindfulness training on neurocognitive mechanisms implicated in addiction. Cultivation of increased cognitive control capacity through mindfulness practices can allow the individual to gain self-control over automatic substance use behavior. Contemporary advances in addiction neuroscience have paralleled increasing interest in the ancient mental training practice of mindfulness meditation as a potential therapy for addiction. In the past decade, mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have been studied as a treatment for an array addictive behaviors, including drinking, smoking, opioid misuse, and use of illicit substances like cocaine and heroin. This article reviews current research evaluating MBIs as a treatment for addiction, with a focus on findings pertaining to clinical outcomes and biobehavioral mechanisms.

  • Mindfulness is both a mental discipline and an attitudinal perspective.
  • By practicing mindfulness to savor everyday pleasant activities, an individual in recovery from a SUD can self-generate feelings of contentment, relaxation, and joy.
  • Types of addiction can vary from substance abuse to addictive behaviors like gambling or compulsive shopping.
  • Stress, anxiety, poor sleep, pain, depression and drug cravings are common complaints as people adjust to life without substances.
  • It’s also important to note that some of these practices are inappropriate for certain clients, and may even be detrimental.
  • More specifically, results show that more than 34% of the 1,079 respondents reported changes or disruptions in accessing treatment or recovery support services.

A neurocognitive perspective on the etiology of SUDs

  • Additionally, mindfulness can help individuals become more attuned to their thoughts and emotions, allowing them to recognize triggers for their addictive behavior patterns.
  • When you take your meditation and mindfulness practice with you, you’re also able to come back to the moment no matter where you are.
  • Mindfulness is a key tool in this process, offering a way to stay present and grounded, which is especially valuable during recovery.
  • Training in mindfulness increases attention and clarity, and makes it possible to actively monitor thoughts, emotions and sensations without allowing them to develop into uncontrollable cravings.
  • When a person who has struggled with addiction finds the right therapeutic path, the recovery that once seemed like a pipe dream finally becomes attainable.

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