Mindfulness and Addiction Recovery
Treating addiction is not a “one size fits all” approach. In fact, treatment is based on each individual, as well as the facility through which they seek help. Most rehabilitation centers offer a mixture of therapies that address the various physical and mental health issues related to addiction. These treatments are examined against a wealth of empirical data and thorough reviews in literature and practice.
Examples of the more common treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy, 12-step programs, and family counseling. Among the more widely used tracks of therapy, there are new, promising forms of treatment that are cropping up among rehab facilities. One such method is known as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT).
Mindfulness and addiction
Mindfulness addiction recovery explores the complex nature of human emotion through the dual perspectives of cognitive behavioral therapy and mindful practice.
This particular treatment mixes various mindful activities like breathing, exercise, and meditation with intensive behavioral therapy in order to manage stress and control addictive tendencies. Though it has historically been used as a therapy for clinical depression, MBCT shows major promise in treating the underlying causes of addiction.
State of prevention
Addiction and chronic depression often operate as an insidious pair. Working as co-occurring disorders, they can enervate the willpower and motivation from a recovering addict looking to heal.
When MBCT is applied to addiction recovery, it tackles these two issues under the shared goal of understanding human emotions and urges. Through mindful practice, addicts can learn about the negative emotions that drive their destructive habits. With patience, a new state of prevention can be achieved, wherein an addict knows how to decode their emotions in a healthy and productive manner.
Retrain the brain
Whether guided or unguided, mindfulness practices, like meditation, can calm the brain and soothe the central nervous system. For patients suffering from addiction and/or depression, this is an incredible tool that can be learned and repeated anywhere.
Mindfulness therapy quiets the brain and subdues anxiety. Patients learn to slow down their breathing and observe their thoughts in a passive manner. Acting as an observer allows one to examine their emotions, non-judgmentally, from a distance. And it is that very distance that often brings clarity to complex and challenging situations.
All in the breath
It’s all in the breath. While MBCT does teach the mechanics and benefits of mindful practices, it first starts with the basics — breathing.
It seems simple enough. Rarely do we stop to think about the way we breathe. Why would we? Our body does it for us, and it would be a pain to think about each breath. However, the goal of mindfulness is to breathe in such a way that our thoughts slow down and our bodies relax.
Without thinking too hard, you can achieve this type of breathing in a quiet place, in a soft, but focused sitting position, with a tall spine, and relaxed shoulders. By taking in air through the nose and exhaling slowly through the mouth, you can prepare your body to engage in mindful thinking and practices.
Arms wide open
The key to mindfulness in recovery is acceptance. It may seem challenging at first, but mindful practices invite patients to explore all of their thoughts and emotions — the good and the bad — with love and acceptance.
The harder we avoid things, the stronger they come back. It’s a tough reality, and it’s the reason why so many people suppress their thoughts and fears.
Mindfulness therapy offers an exciting opportunity to explore those thoughts and feelings in a way that is healthy and honest. MBCT is doing wonders for those who are recovering from addiction. Alongside other practices, mindfulness therapy shows a great deal of promise for the future. Interested in learning more about the treatments we offer? Find useful information here, reach out to United Recovery Project by calling 1.855.465.2881, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to help.