Meditation Therapy in Addiction Treatment

Meditation therapy is one of the most common forms of therapy options that is now used in the context of addiction treatment and rehabilitation. It has been proved to be effective in some instances, and this is why several drug rehab programs are applying it in their treatment modalities.

About Meditation Therapy

Meditation therapy is a simple but powerful technique that has been shown to come with several health benefits. It can, for instance, reduce anxiety and stress. As a result of its impactful effects, it is increasingly available in general wellness circles as well as in the treatment of substance abuse and addiction as a type of therapy.

The goal of this form of therapy is to synchronize the body and the mind to create an improvement in psychological wellness. It can also enhance the quality of life. During meditation, you would typically have to take deep breaths, chant a mantra or a focused word, as well as focus on your breathing. As a result, this could lead to increase connection and awareness.

Types of Meditation

In many cases, you would meditate while in the lotus pose - where you are in the seated posture and crossed legged. It is also accompanied by slowed and deep breathing. It is similar to yoga in the sense that it can reduce your emotional triggers, anxiety, and depression, as well as change your brainwaves. Examples of different forms of meditation include:

  • Guided meditation, which will encourage you to visualize peaceful images in your brain as the therapist facilitates the process with guidance.
  • Mindfulness meditation, which is designed to increase awareness, focus, and concentration
  • Transcendental meditation, which involves speaking a silent mantra to improve your effortlessness with the goal of achieving peace and reducing stress
  • Zen meditation, that can help you achieve calmness and non-reactivity by reinforcing attention to the present moment by clearing out the past

Meditation Therapy in Substance Abuse

Since meditation therapy has been shown to come with several benefits, many addiction treatment and rehabilitation centers have started using it to help their clients overcome their substance use disorders. In particular, those centers that rely on alternative or complementary treatment methods often encourage this form of therapy to combat drug cravings, triggers, and withdrawal symptoms.

This is mostly because it has been shown that meditation comes with many benefits, including but not limited to:

  • Decreased ADHD symptoms
  • Decreased insomnia
  • Emotional stability
  • Improved attention
  • Improved mood
  • Increased academic performance
  • Increased concentration
  • Increased creativity
  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased focus
  • Increased strength
  • Reduced anxiety (including social anxiety)
  • Reduced brain activity
  • Reduced depression
  • Reduced Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS)
  • Reduced PTSD symptoms
  • Reduced risk of relapse
  • Significantly reduced stress

Research studies have also reported that meditation therapy can alter brainwaves - which often leads to a reduction in cortisol levels and an improvement in psychological function.

Through mindfulness practice, it is possible to enhance the overall performance of the brain's frontal cortex - the region of the brain that is responsible for regulating thinking and planning.

In the same way, meditation can also have an impact on the amygdala, the region of the brain that reduces fear. Further, it can activate the anterior cingulate cortex, which is responsible for governing motor control and motivation.

Meditation Therapy in Withdrawal

If you are struggling with withdrawal symptoms like depression, insomnia, and anxiety, meditation therapy can help you feel more grounded by calming your central nervous system.

As a result, you may experience an enhancement in the overall quality of your sleep. During periods of wakefulness, it can also improve your mood. Additionally, if you are struggling with emotionally imbalanced thoughts as a result of a disorder like obsessive compulsive disorder, meditation can help you learn how to observe your thoughts without being attached to them.

It is also essential to add that meditation therapy can give you active control over your impulses. For this reason, this type of therapy is used to reduce nicotine, alcohol, and drug abuse as well as low your risk of relapse in the future.

Endorphins, Substance Abuse, and Meditation Therapy

Research also shows that meditation therapy can release the feel good chemicals of the brain - such as dopamine - in larger quantities and more naturally than before. If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, you will be doing so in search of this release.

For this reason, it is highly likely that you may have dopamine in low levels if you have been struggling with substance abuse especially when you start crashing. When your meditation, you can cause your brain to produce these chemicals naturally and in higher quantities - further reducing the likelihood or the need to abuse drugs or drink alcohol in excess.

If there are other motivations for your substance abuse - whether undiscovered or co-occurring at the same time as your addiction - could also improve with meditation. Examples include thinking of the worst case scenarios and feeling anxious.

In the same way, meditation therapy can allow you to feel more at peace with the present moment. If you have problems focus on your daily activities, it is highly likely that you will crave alcohol and drugs instead.

Through meditation, you can learn to improve your awareness of the present moment especially through breathing. If you include yoga into this practice, you would have an improved method of achieving wellness as well as being able to control your mental activity.

It is also important to note that using meditation therapy alongside cognitive behavioral therapy can reinforce your focus on your behavior in the same way that mindfulness practice can.

Further, meditation therapy can teach you how to accept what is happening in your life, put it into its perspective, as well as create the intentions that will prove beneficial to your long term recovery.

Getting Help

If you are looking for an addiction treatment center that uses meditation therapy, you should try to find a holistic, alternative, or complementary drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility.

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