Numerous studies have proven that practicing mindfulness meditation can aid in lowering the risk of relapsing into drug and alcohol abuse. According to a study conducted by Jama Psychiatry, only 8% of 286 individuals who were surveyed, have utilized mindfulness meditation to recover from addiction relapse within a year. The therapy of patients in recovery from addiction ideally involves working with an experienced mindfulness specialist for optimal results. Interventions focused on mindfulness have the potential to improve cognitive regulation of important processes. Mindfulness, in its most basic form, helps recovering addicts break the link between anxiety or depression and addiction and makes it easier for them to resist temptation when it arises. Today, we will deep dive and address the benefits of meditation for drug and alcohol addiction
When recovering addicts are confronted with circumstances in which they may be tempted to revert to their old behaviors, meditation can prompt them to pause and think carefully about the choices they will make in response to those situations. Meditation for drug and alcohol addiction can also help significantly reduce stress hormones in the body, which, in and of itself, make it easier to resist the desire to use substances again and relapse.
Those who struggle with addiction frequently engage in risky behaviors because substances like alcohol and narcotics stimulate the brain’s reward centers. Yet, the reward centers in the context of addiction, are being stimulated for the wrong reasons. As the habit of addiction teaches your brain to seek out your substance of choice, the brain can also relearn and seek out awards that give you healthier pleasures, instead. Case and point–meditation. Meditation for drug and alcohol addiction focuses on the healthy activities that people engage in on a daily basis — in order to foster more focused attention on the natural rewards that such activities bring — it offers a healthy alternative that one can utilize for a lifetime, if they so choose.
Abusing substances like alcohol and drugs leads to a reduction in the quantity of gray matter within the brain. It’s responsible for myriads of processes that your brain performs, such as memory and learning. Your self-awareness, including the way you interpret the world and your surroundings, is influenced by the degree of gray matter in your brain. Cognitive impairments e.g. memory problems, ineffective planning, and an apparent lack of complex reasoning can be caused by less gray matter in a person’s brain. Meditation, mindfulness, and yoga may increase gray matter in the frontal and hippocampal regions of the brain.
Comprehension and long-term memory are both controlled by these parts of the brain. When there is more gray matter within these sections, the amygdala, which sends signals of worry, anxiety, and distress and also responds to them, is easier to manage. Increased levels of gray matter within the frontal regions of the brain are associated with better control of impulsive behaviors. Meditation helps patients in recovery overcome obsessive and reactive behavioral patterns by introducing, memorizing, and integrating better and much healthier thinking. This is a skill that is typically developed with popular cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT, and it is one of the primary benefits of meditation.
People who meditate are more likely to experience positive changes in different parts of the brain that are responsible for self-control. Those who meditate gain an understanding that one sensation or thought does not necessarily have to result in another emotion, thought, or even action. This is done by learning to concentrate on the present moment. Those recovering from addiction can learn to “coast with the wave” of cravings by maintaining a regular meditation practice, which in turn helps to lower the likelihood of relapsing.
Addiction is a long-term, debilitating illness that starts in the brain. The brain, luckily for us, is neuroplastic, meaning that it is capable of altering its structure and function in response to beneficial or negative practices and habits. As such, we at North Jersey Rehabs combine lifestyle changes with medical support. Your brain may have suffered from the harmful effects of addiction, but it is possible to bring it back to its ideal condition and overcome the difficulties associated with substance abuse. Allow us to guide you towards recovery. Contact us today to discuss initial steps for treatment admission!
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