People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol often experience a great deal of stress. The inability to keep up with daily responsibilities, the pressure to quit drugs or alcohol, and other addiction-related stressors are often a daily occurrence when someone is struggling with addiction.
Luckily, many treatment programs now offer education on how to cope with stress in a healthy manner. One stress management strategy that has become increasingly popular in the recovery world is mindfulness.
Mindfulness-based therapies have proven to be very successful in the treatment of drug or alcohol addiction. Mindfulness can give individuals a new perspective on their addiction and can help reduce cravings as well as withdrawal symptoms. When practiced on a regular basis, mindfulness can improve a person’s chances of recovery as well as significantly reduce stress.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the act of paying attention to the present moment and all that it has to offer. The key to mindfulness is being able to accept the current state of things without judging or trying to change the situation. At its core, mindfulness is acceptance of how things are in the moment.
Many people who struggle with drug or alcohol addiction use substances in an attempt to numb current emotions or to mentally and/or emotionally go somewhere else. Mindfulness helps individuals stop trying to avoid their current experience by non-judgmentally observing one’s thoughts and feelings.
When a person can learn to accept and embrace his or her current state of mind and reality, stress is often reduced. In fact, studies have shown that over time, mindfulness practices can rewire the brain and strengthen the neural pathways related to anxiety and stress.
Benefits Of Mindfulness and Meditation In Addiction Treatment
There are several benefits that come with including a mindfulness practice into a recovery program. Simply being able to acknowledge one’s current feelings and emotions without acting on them is a major benefit. Many people with addictions tend to immediately act on feelings by using drugs or alcohol. Being able to pause and sit through emotion can help a person resist cravings and better understand him or herself.
Additional benefits that someone in addiction treatment may experience as a result of mindfulness include:
- awareness into what triggers cravings for drugs or alcohol
- the ability to suppress cravings rather than act on them
- a higher capacity for optimism and well-being
- improved self-control
- reduced stress
- the ability to cope in a healthy way with stress
- reduced anxiety and depression
- better decision-making skills
- the ability to spot warning signs of a potential relapse
Before learning how to incorporate mindfulness into their daily lives, many people are unaware of the negative cycle of thoughts that often lead to drug or alcohol abuse. Mindfulness treatment allows individuals to face these thoughts head-on in a neutral and calm manner. As a result, people are able to become aware of and stop the negative thoughts that contribute to addiction.
Meditation: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) In Recovery
Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is one of the more popular types of mindfulness taught in addiction treatment programs. This method, created by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., combines yoga, meditation, and psychotherapy to teach individuals the skill of mindfulness in everyday life.
Studies have shown that MBSR can help lower stress and blood pressure as well as improve a person’s self-esteem. Additionally, MSBR has been shown to lower dropout rates from drug and alcohol rehab programs. All of these effects can increase a person’s likelihood of successfully completing a treatment program and maintaining sobriety.
MSBR is often used in conjunction with other forms of therapy in addiction treatment centers. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy and various holistic therapies may be incorporating into a program of recovery that also centers around mindfulness.
Finding A Treatment Program That Incorporates Mindfulness And Stress Management
Mindfulness can be an empowering tool to have in recovery. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by one’s current reality, he or she can accept and embrace the situation and move forward. Learning to healthily cope with stress through mindfulness can be useful not only during treatment but for the rest of a person’s life.
At Vertava Health, we focus on helping individuals renew their mind, body, and soul by addressing several aspects of addiction. Some of our facilities, such as Vertava Health Texas, incorporate mindfulness practices to empower individuals to take charge of their recovery and heal from within.
To learn more about mindfulness and stress management for addiction treatment, contact a Vertava Health treatment specialist today.