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Addiction Treatment: How Can Mindfulness Meditation Help with Addiction Treatment?

If you or a loved one is planning on receiving help for addiction treatment, mindfulness meditation is an amazing option to consider.  You have probably heard of this treatment modality, but do you know what it is, exactly? It is a powerful, yet basic technique that boasts several benefits, such as stress and anxiety reduction. The primary goal of meditation is for individuals to synchronize their mind and body for better mental health.  All you need to do is take deep breaths, chant a mantra, and focus on your breath; you may experience increased awareness and connection. 

The Basics of Mindfulness Meditation 

Techniques for this type of meditation can differ, but generally, they revolve around the mind and body. Contrary to popular belief, practicing it does not require props or preparation, so there is no need for candles or essential oils (unless you enjoy those). All you need to get started is a comfortable place to sit, roughly five minutes of free time, and a judgment-free mind.  The main point to remember about meditation is this: meditation is a practice, so you should not expect it to be perfect. However you do it is fine! The point is to not pass judgment on your thoughts or any distractions. It is impossible to prevent your thoughts, but you can simply witness them. If a thought pops up, do your best not to suppress it; simply take note of it, stay calm, and use your breath as an anchor.  If you notice that you are getting too lost in your thoughts and experience worry, fear, or anxiety, observe where your mind went, without judgement, and do your best to return to your breathing. The last thing you want to do is to be hard on yourself; after all, the practice of returning to your breath and recentering yourself to the present moment is the essence of mindfulness. 

How Mindfulness Meditation Can Help with Drug or Alcohol Addiction 

With much of meditation’s benefits, it is clear it can be ideal for substance abuse relief to taper symptoms of withdrawal, cravings, and triggers. Some of the numerous benefits include: 
  • Having a better mood 
  • Better concentration 
  • Less stress 
  • Reduced depression and anxiety, including social anxiety 
  • Reduced PTSD and ADHD symptoms 
  • Improved attention span 
  • Increased creativity 
  • Emotional stability
  • Better academic performance 
  • Decreased insomnia 
  • Increased strength 
  • Increased flexibility 
  • Reduced Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS) 
  • Reduced risk of relapse 
Some other benefits of this practice include the ability to alter brainwaves, which can contribute to better psychological function and less cortisol. Practicing this type of meditation can improve the performance of the frontal cortex, which is the area of the brain that regulates planning and thinking. Furthermore, it also impacts the amygdala, which can reduce fear and increase the activation of the anterior cingulate cortex, governing motivation and motor control.

The Relationship Between Mindfulness Meditation and Withdrawal Symptoms 

When a person experiences withdrawal symptoms, such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression, meditation can help with grounding the individual and calming the nervous system. A calm nervous system can improve the quality of a person’s sleep, and during the time they are awake, it can improve their mood. For those who suffer from emotionally imbalanced thoughts stemming from disorders like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, people can learn to observe their thoughts without feeling attachment.  Meditation therapy can also help someone regain control over their impulses. For instance, transcendental meditation has been used to reduce alcohol, drug, and nicotine abuse and the risk of relapsing. 

Mindfulness Meditation Can Release Endorphins 

Another positive effect most people experience after meditating to treat substance abuse is the release of dopamine, colloquially known as “feel good chemicals” sought out by those battling addiction. Any undiscovered or co-occurring motivations for substance abuse, such as filling in a void, thinking of the worst case scenario, or intense anxiety can improve with meditation. The more a person practices meditation, the more attainable these goals become.  Meditation is meant to help practitioners feel at peace in the moment. A person who has trouble focusing on daily activities and craving substances instead can learn awareness in the moment by following their breath. If one opts for including yoga into their practice, they will have a better chance of achieving wellness and control over their mental activity. Finally, and perhaps the  greatest benefit of this practice, is that meditation can teach people to accept what is, put the past in perspective, or create intentions that are beneficial to someone receiving professional treatment

Addiction-Specific Mindfulness Meditation Benefits

As we discussed above, meditation comes with several advantages, and it is especially beneficial to those combatting addiction. Here are the main benefits as it pertains to controlling substance abuse:  Improved Self-Confidence  In our years of operating a treatment center, we have learned that many people, addiction can be traced back to trying to fulfill or fix a need that feels lacking. Healing ourselves through meditation can help us improve how we view ourselves as a whole.  Improved Self-Control  When a person learns to accept and tolerate the present moment, they become more able to make necessary changes in their lives. Once a person realizes they cannot fight addiction alone, it can lead them to look for help from a drug or alcohol addiction recovery center, such as Ardu Recovery Center. 

Ardu Recovery Center Cares 

At Ardu Recovery Center, we have welcomed people of all backgrounds into our treatment center to help them overcome their drug or alcohol addictions using various treatment modalities. We provide several addiction treatment services that center drug and alcohol addiction, such as individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy, exercise therapy, and more.  We also specialize in mindfulness-based intervention, such as mindfulness meditation, to help get to the root of the addiction. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, please get in touch with us today if you have any questions regarding our programs. We are located in scenic Provo, Utah.