It has been known for a very long time that stress can and does contribute to Substance Use Disorder and relapse after addiction treatment. In this article we are going to explore the uses of Meditation for Addiction Treatment with the primary focus on it's uses to reduce stress and identify feelings and triggers that lead to use and relapse. In a 2012 study by Dr. Rajita Sinha discusses the relation to stress, relapse and cravings for drugs or alcohol in early recovery situations and how Cognitive Behavioral Training, is an excellent tool for people in recovery but can be difficult to implement for some people without a considerable amount of practice.
Mindfulness Meditation for Addiction Treatment in Early Recovery
There are many different kinds of meditation that can be used and we will look at a few here, lets start with mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation is useful for people in recovery as it is about being present in the moment and understanding what is happening in our minds and bodies at all times. It is not about trying to escape reality or alter it, it is about identifying, understanding and accepting what is and what is happening now. It can also be used to recognize and analyze an emotion, thought or trigger and accepting that it is there. Once identified and accepted it looses it's power over you and appropriate action can be taken to adjust our thinking and not allow the thought or emotion to take hold and lead us to use. There has been many studies on how meditation can help in reducing anxiety and stress, which can have a positive effect on our overall health and wellbeing and be an additional to to help avoid relapse in someone recovering from addiction.
Mindfulness meditation is not a quick fix, it is a practice that takes time and some effort to see results, however over time you will be calmer, more aware and in the present. Rather then thoughts or emotions being chaotic and controlling, they will just be there. You will understand that they only have power over you if you allow them to. It will also help you in many other aspects of your life and over time drastically reduce stress in your life since most stress is self imposed, once you understand that and identify the stressors in advance they subside and do not have the same power that they use to. Studies have shown that mindfulness meditation helps boost your immune system and over all health. As well as since you will now be paying attention to your emotions and thoughts you will be less impulsive and consider your actions prior to taking them.
Transcendental or Focused Meditation for instant Stress Reduction
Transcendental Meditation was popularized in the west by Maharishi Mahesh and originated from the ancient Indian Vedic traditions. Forgetting about it's religious roots or some that claimed to be able to teach people to levitate, etc. It is a very good tool for immediate stress reduction if you have the place and ability to utilize it when you find yourself in a particularly stressful situation. Transcendental Meditation comes from a religious background but there is no need to involve religion in it to get the benefits. This form of meditation is a simple technique where you get yourself into a comfortable position and repeating a meaningless word or 'mantra' over and over.
This technique allows your body to become very relaxed and your mind to clear. By repeating the mantra it helps to cut through all the noise and emotions that are running around in most of our heads and experience some peace. It has been shown in practitioners to quickly reduce stress and anxiety and can be used when and as needed, practitioners do however suggest daily 1 hour sessions or so.
Yoga as a form of Meditation in Addiction Treatment
In Yoga you you do a number of movements and poses while controlling your breathing. The goal is to quiet the mind and increase the bodies strength and flexibility. Even to the point of some extreme postures experienced practitioners can preform that don't look possible for a normal human body to do. The postures and movements require balance and concentration and practitioners and students are instructed to try and focus less on external events and more on the movements that they are doing. The extreme yoga you see in some cases is not in anyway needed to gain the benefits you are looking for and you could consider it like someone who spends 20 minutes on a treadmill to someone running an olympic level marathon, 20 minutes on the treadmill still increases the average persons physical wellbeing and health.
Qi gong and Tai Chi for Addiction Recovery
Both Qi gong and Tai Chi are slow controlled movements while controlling breathing. Qi gong however is part of traditional Chinese medicine and Tai chi is considered a martial art. Both can be extremely useful in reducing stress and helping people in recovery, in the case of practices that are more group orientated like these it also has the added benefit of giving people in recovery healthy hobbies and things to do that do not generally include drugs or alcohol.
There are many other forms of meditation that can have benefits in drug and alcohol recovery and I would encourage you to look at them all and find one that suits your lifestyle and personality. The benefits of meditation for addiction treatment have been shown in many cases and help with complete wellbeing and as said by the Mayo Clinic, regardless if it does any good or not it is pretty safe for just about anyone to do.
Meditation In Rehab
At Serenity - Thailand Rehab Center, as part of your addiction treatment program you will learn Mindfulness Meditation and Yoga. We consider meditation for addiction treatment as an important aspect of the program and have qualified instructors for both Yoga and Meditation doing regular sessions with the clients. Our addiction treatment program is perfectly balanced to treat not only your addiction but also be sure you leave in much better physical and mental condition then you arrived in, with the tools to work towards and maintain life long sobriety.