Meditation Used As a Therapeutic Tool for Addiction Treatment
More and more scientific evidence is surfacing regarding the medical benefits of meditation. Studies have shown that when meditation techniques are employed in conjunction with more conventional therapies, the combined treatment is largely more effective. These health benefits in what has been termed “Mindfulness-based practices” have a particular resonance in relation to the psychological distress involved in many medical conditions. The reduction of stress levels and the alleviation of depression have ingratiated these meditation techniques throughout the psychiatric and medical communities. This is further evidence of the recognition of the need for multi-dimensional and innovative thinking that has become a main aspect of contemporary clinical research and practise.
There are numerous meditation practices that have been utilised throughout history. Within the medical establishment, three have been prominently studied and are the basis for much of the ongoing research. All fall under the rubric of “Mindfulness-based practices” which focus on the experience of the present moment; a concentration on the specificity of the immediate without the interference of the anticipation of the future or the memory of the past. The goal in this practice is geared toward an understanding that the issues of the past and the uncertainty of the future are better dealt with after an acceptance and comfort with the present is established.
The first of these meditation practices is Zen meditation. This involves specific breathing patterns that are rooted in ancient Buddhist spirituality. The breathing pattern help focus the mind on a “mindfulness” that embraces the moment and develops a serenity that alleviates anxiety and tension. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a more secular Buddhist meditational practice that involves educational awareness of the causes and effects of stress while incorporating certain elements of yoga. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is an extension of the MBSR that includes cognitive therapeutic methods that are specifically focused on the removal of negative thinking that is often a cause for a relapse of depression.
Again, these meditational treatments are meant to be practiced in conjunction with more adjunctive treatments. They supplement certain standard procedures with an emphasis on the psychological impact suffered by patients. They are proven methods of addressing the issue of psychological health, and studies continually demonstrate the impact and success in this area. Specifically, anxiety, depression and distress have been reduced in numerous instances through these meditational techniques. Meditation has been a tool that has been used throughout history by both those suffering from medical ailments as well as those who are healthy. Routine usages of meditational practices offer all individuals an opportunity to “clear” the overabundance of anxiety inducing issues that flood the mind in our fast paced contemporary society. While there are still studies being conducted to determine who is most prone to the benefits of meditation, undoubtedly, those who struggle the most with anxiety and stress have the most to gain from this kind of treatment.
Drug and alcohol addiction more often than not involves psychological distress. While addiction recovery treatment from these involves numerous therapeutic techniques and treatments, meditation is certainly an inviting and inclusive option that has already proven to be both effective and easily incorporated into any treatment program. Mindfulness meditation is practiced as a therapy and healing process at Sobriety Home Foundation in conjunction with a number of other therapies designed specifically for the recovering drug addict and alcoholic. It is a part of our overall mandate to emphasize individualized as well as group specific treatment that caters to the needs of each individual. We recognize that individuality requires individualized methods of treatment and we are constantly evolving and exploring all options in the pursuit of successful approaches to sobriety and health.
Connect with Catherine Cosgrove on Google+