24 Healing Options for any Illness

Meditation

Addiction affects people physically, mentally, and emotionally, and thus many recovering addicts look for treatments that can help them on all three levels. Meditation is one such treatment, and is gaining increasing traction in a number of treatment and rehabilitation programs. It is an effective treatment for many forms of addiction and helps recovering addicts to overcome the emotional rollercoaster that is often experienced during the early stages of recovery.

Meditation offers a wide range of mental and physical benefits, including many that are of use to those recovering from an addiction. Meditation typically has one quiet the mind or focus on a specific thought or idea. Doing so creates a sense of calmness and relaxation, decreasing anxiety and stress and promoting peace of mind and emotional stability. This can help addicts become happier, more open-minded, and more in touch with themselves, which also means that they are better able to evaluate situations and their own strengths and weaknesses and make better decisions. In addition to these mental and emotional benefits, meditation can lower blood pressure, increase energy level, and reduce stress-related pain. It can even improve interpersonal relationships.

Scientific Studies:

The use of various forms of meditation and mindfulness techniques in addiction recovery is gaining increasing attention both from addiction specialists and the wider scientific community. Because of this, a growing body of research supports the use of meditation and similar techniques for addiction recovery and relapse prevention.

In 2008, researchers investigated the efficacy of using meditation for relapse prevention. The 16-week pilot study featured 19 alcohol-dependent people who had passed an intensive outpatient program. Of them, 15 then completed an 8-week meditation course, which included at-home meditation and standard of care therapy. Researchers measured the effects of meditation using biological markers as well as questionnaires. Those who completed the trial meditated on average for 4.6 days each week and were abstinent on 94.5% of study days. 47% reported total abstinence. Depression, anxiety, stress, cravings, and relapse triggers all decreased over time, while the degree of mindfulness increased. In the questionnaires, participants rated meditation courses as "very important" and a "useful relapse prevention tool", and many reported that they would likely continue meditating in the future.

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