Mindfulness meditation in the treatment of substance use disorders and preventing future relapse: neurocognitive mechanisms and clinical implications PMC

This could be a specific time of day or after a daily occurrence, such as after dinner or before bed. Stress and anxiety can keep anyone up at night, but taking time during the day to calm yourself can help relieve these pressures before it is time to turn the lights out for the night. If you would like to learn more about how meditation can play a role in a holistic plan for sustaining long-term sobriety, the team of recovery https://ecosoberhouse.com/ experts Safe Harbor Recovery Center in Portsmouth, VA, is happy to answer your questions. In fact, philosophers have always known—and science has more recently confirmed—that there is tremendous value in allowing ourselves to step away from the busyness of daily life and simply be. It is in stillness, not in continual activity, that we are free to discover our own personal truths that give meaning and purpose to our life.

Doing this regularly may take practice, but it’s one of the easiest mindfulness exercises we practice. Noticing the little things will ground you in the present moment—the place where you live your life. We’re talking to our kids or watching TV or sitting in a meeting, but our mind’s a million miles away. Usually, we’re feeling stressed about something that happened in the past or feeling anxiety about what might happen in the future.

What is the Role of Mindfulness in Treatment of Substance Use Disorder?

Some of these apps even offer guided meditations that will help you focus on your breathing and the present moment by following an audio track. Mindfulness-based intervention is a therapeutic practice that is gaining attention among addiction researchers and clinicians. This intervention is aimed at altering negative patterns of thought and behavior. By discouraging automatic reactions to difficult situations and, instead, approaching them with acceptance and without judgement, individuals learn new ways to think about and react to negative experiences.

meditation for addiction recovery

That goal is to help people in recovery feel more connected to themselves, in their body, and able to lean more into their treatment than without meditation. Consider the case of a man in partial remission from alcohol use disorder who has recently stopped drinking. After successfully abstaining from alcohol for over 2 months after realizing the negative impact his drinking had on his family and work, he attends a party with old friends, where he is overcome by craving and has a drinking lapse. He could interpret this lapse as the beginning of a downward spiral into his alcohol use habits, with attendant feelings of shame and hopelessness. Alternatively, he could use mindfulness to disengage from this negative emotional state, arrest the automatic impulse and concomitant experience of craving, and then re-commit himself to recovery by contacting his 12-Step fellowship sponsor. Thus, mindfulness may help to prevent relapse by increasing awareness of high-risk situations, supporting positive hedonic tone, and preventing a singular lapse from becoming a full-blown relapse.

Water Meditation

Studied in a variety of populations, mindfulness is shown to bring about brain changes in regions that play a role in emotion regulation, behavioral control, and reward. Remember that meditation is not a substitute for comprehensive addiction treatment, but it can be a valuable complement to a holistic recovery plan. Studies investigating the link between substance use and meditation are ongoing. Recent evidence found mindfulness-based interventions like meditation could reduce the consumption of alcohol, cocaine and amphetamines. Mindfulness practice may also reduce the risk of relapse, as it teaches the practitioner coping methods for discomfort such as drug cravings or the negative effects of substances. Studies like this are essential for gaining a better understanding of the mechanisms that underlie the effects of behavioral interventions.

  • However, sometimes some guidance can be helpful when trying a new thing and building a routine.
  • In fact, archaeologists have found evidence of meditation in the Indus Valley dating back to 5,000-3,500 B.C.
  • Consistent with the reward restructuring hypothesis, by practicing mindful savoring over time, the experience of natural reward may outweigh the drive to use drugs to obtain a sense of well-being – fortifying the individual against relapse.
  • Scientifically, your heart rate naturally drops anytime your body encounters water [11], making you feel calmer, weightless, and more present, thereby setting the right tone for your meditation session.

A growing body of studies have found that meditation can help you manage triggers for unwanted impulses and develop mental awareness. Let’s take a look at some of the other benefits of meditation and how they relate to addiction recovery. “Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it,” wrote the meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg.

What are 4 benefits of meditation in addiction recovery?

By practicing mindfulness to savor everyday pleasant activities, an individual in recovery from a SUD can self-generate feelings of contentment, relaxation, and joy. Consider an individual with cocaine use disorder in full remission who practices mindful savoring when his grandchildren visit on the weekend. By using mindfulness to focus on the positive emotions and the sense of meaningfulness that emerge from spending time with his grandchildren, this individual may feel more satisfied and contented than he ever did when using substances.

meditation for addiction recovery

After a couple of minutes of regular breathing, you’ll find a natural rhythm to slide you into deep meditation. The mantra is the word or phrase you silently repeat as you breathe during meditation. Your mantra can be simple like ‘In, out’ or the classic ‘ohm.’ It doesn’t matter what your mantra is but keep it simple – you’ll repeating meditation for addiction recovery it internally hundreds of times. When you first become sober your brain feels like it’s on overdrive. You’re suddenly strikingly aware of the world around you and the responsibilities that come with being a better person. You can be hit with obsessive thoughts, irrational dispositions, and struggle to sleep as your brain races.

You can also listen to our guided meditations for visualizing positive outcomes in your life, or consciously reducing your stress levels and entering a deep state of relaxation. Many studies have observed the effect of yoga and meditation on the fight-or-flight response, which is the body’s natural reaction to stressful and life-threatening situations. Meditation stimulates the same reward system in the brain as drugs and alcohol without adverse health impacts. Addiction is dependent on external stimuli, while meditation switches the focus internally, promoting a deeper mind-body connection. Yoga is a healthy coping mechanism that promotes deeper introspection and strengthened inner resolve; it can help us process difficult emotions, overcome cravings, and move past urges to act out in addictive patterns. The yoga philosophy offers a holistic approach to addiction treatment that can complement western standards of care.

meditation for addiction recovery

There’s also a free seven-day intro course included, helping you begin a meditation routine. While the app is free, you can pay for a premium subscription in order to unlock some more features including full courses. If you choose to buy the premium version, it runs about $60 per year. However, sometimes some guidance can be helpful when trying a new thing and building a routine.

When you first quit drugs or alcohol, you need all possible tools to help your recovery. There are several drug and alcohol treatment methods that most people know about it including counseling, drug detox, and 12-step meetings but lately, a more ancient tool is being used – meditation. Here are a number of highly reviewed apps that are more geared towards addiction recovery. My Life is a bit different than the other meditation apps on our list. The idea here is that mindfulness is a more all-encompassing activity that doesn’t just include meditation. Other methods of mindfulness can be tracked using this app, such as yoga and breathwork.

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