Mindfulness as a New Treatment for Substance Dependency

According to Government figures around 23 million Americans suffer from
substance dependency.

Resultado de imagen para rehab

Addictions to alcohol, drugs and other habit-forming substances are difficult to overcome due to the reward-based learning center in our brain. While this developed to aid survival, tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs all target the mesolimbic pathway, triggering the release of feel-good dopamine, which reinforces these habits. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one strategy used to change behaviors, but it works through our prefrontal cortex, which fatigues under stress, so has limited success in managing addictions. Thankfully, mindfulness works through another mechanism and shows potential as a treatment.

*Evidence for mindfulness-based addiction therapies*

Mindfulness is a Buddhist principle that encourages us to become more aware of our thoughts, feelings and body sensations. This is helpful in addiction therapy, as it enables addicts to appreciate cravings and notice how they alter with time, and the Abbeycare Foundation offers free alcohol addiction assessments over the phone or at any of their local alcohol rehab centers throughout the UK.. Rather than acting on a craving, individuals are able to ride out cravings, adopting a more positive behavior. Paying close attention also allows those dependent on substances to better appreciate their behaviors and the downsides of their habits, so they no longer appeal. This isn’t just based on theory though, as there is good evidence that being mindful helps during smoking cessation and recovery from alcoholism and drug abuse.

Indeed, a randomized controlled trial found mindfulness twice as effective for giving up tobacco as the best available treatment. By targeting the addictive loop, mindfulness disrupts it, breaking down the association between craving and behavior, and the desire to act on these.

*Accessing mindfulness therapy*

Although further research is necessary, a clear mechanistic link makes mindfulness a promising treatment for relapse prevention. Therapists are now trained in its use for addiction recovery, and the value of internet and app-based mindfulness is also under  exploration, with clinical trials underway.

4 Holiday Health Strategies: How to Maintain Your Well-Being During the Holiday Season

novermber calendarAlthough the holidays can be a time of happiness and joy, they can also come with a multitude of stressors.  Finances are often a stressor during the holidays, particularly for parents.  Memories of loved ones we’ve lost, a demanding schedule of activities and being alone can all increase feelings of stress at this time of year.

When you’re likely to be faced with a multitude of stressors, it can be helpful to implement a few strategies early in the season that can pay off, in terms of lower stress levels, all season long. Continue reading “4 Holiday Health Strategies: How to Maintain Your Well-Being During the Holiday Season” »

Mental Health Day Blog Party: Bringing Mindfulness to School

school girlChildren, today, juggle a wide variety of pressures and demands, often while living in a hectic and fast paced world. In today’s world children are likely exposed to a wide variety of electronic gadgets, often have long days, multiple after school activities and may face a wide variety of pressures, including peer pressure and pressures from parents to perform well in sports and academics.

Students today seem to be increasingly stressed. The MECA Study (Methodology for Epidemiology of Mental Disorders in Children and Adolescents) estimated that almost 21 percent of U.S. children ages 9 to 17 had a diagnosable mental or addictive disorder associated with at least minimum impairment. Continue reading “Mental Health Day Blog Party: Bringing Mindfulness to School” »