Meditation Addiction Treatment

With so many different techniques used within the scope of treatment programmes for addiction and mental health problems, you might find it no surprise that meditation forms a part of your recovery plan. In this article, we talk more about meditation and how it could benefit you during and after recovery.

What Is Meditation?

Meditation as a therapy has been used in the treatment of a variety of conditions for countless years. After all, it is a form of relaxation that is known to have massive health benefits. Meditation can help you relieve pain and reduce stress, which can have both mental and physical benefits. However, it is more than that; it also provides spiritual enlightenment, therefore helping to improve overall wellbeing.

By definition, meditation is a mental exercise where the individual focuses on a particular point of reference; this could be breathing, a specific body part, an object or a sound. The idea is that by doing this, the person can increase his or her awareness of the present and create a sense of relaxation that will reduce stress and improve wellbeing.

While meditation is regularly used to treat individuals suffering a variety of conditions – such as anxiety disorder, addiction, and behavioural disorders – it is also used by healthy people on a regular basis to maintain their sense of happiness and contentment.

The use of regular meditation is thought to limit the chances of anxiety, stress, and depression from building up within a person. It is also known to improve quality of life by encouraging a sense of appreciation and enjoyment. When used for therapy purposes, it can help the individual deal with intense emotions without being overwhelmed by them. This allows for greater understanding and insight of feelings, emotions, thoughts, and actions.

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How Meditation Works

Many people are sceptical about meditation and believe it to be a lot of nonsense. However, there is scientific evidence to prove that it can improve wellbeing and reduce stress, which it does by altering certain structures of the brain. Those who meditate regularly report massive improvements in their quality of life and in how they view life in general. It changes the way they interact with others and it allows them to have a greater awareness of the world around them. But how does it actually work?

There have been many studies into how meditation produces changes in the brain. One found that those who meditate regularly had better-persevered brains that those who did not. As these regular meditators aged, their brain had more grey matter than those who did not.

Another study found that meditation has the power to reduce the amount of time that people spend wandering from one thought to another. The default mode network (DMN) in the brain is believed to be responsible for wandering thoughts, and this is associated with being less happy and worrying about the past and future. In those who meditate regularly though, activity in the DMN is decreased.

As meditation is considered a form of brain training, it can help to increase awareness. It is also a powerful tool used to decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression, with one study finding it to have similar effects to antidepressants.

Understanding Meditation

Meditation can be used to help calm down the inner turmoil inside our heads. By encouraging peace and tranquillity, it allows for a greater sense of self-awareness and awareness of the world around us.

Practising meditation involves focusing on an object, person, or a breath. As you do this, the number of random thoughts running through your head should decrease and you can become more aware of your surroundings. It is common for people to become caught up in a specific thought pattern or process while meditating, but once you become aware of this, you will be able to bring your attention back to the object you are meant to be focusing on.

Since meditation allows you to improve your mental clarity and focus while also inducing a sense of peace and tranquillity, it can be used as part of the treatment process in various conditions, including addiction, mental health problems, and behavioural disorders. It is a natural and safe way to promote healing and it is because of this that it is regularly used in recovery programmes.

As meditation causes you to become relaxed, it can have an impact on other functions within your body. As your brain rhythm slows, your heart rate, breathing and metabolism will also slow down. This results in blood pressure lowering and your brain releasing natural painkillers known as endorphins.

Meditation plays a huge role in psychotherapy because of its ability to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and stress. It not only decreases the number of negative thoughts a person has but in terms of addiction, it is also said to be able to reduce cravings.

What Abuse/Addictions is Meditation Used to Treat?

  • Alcohol Addiction
  • Drug Addiction
  • Prescription Drug Addiction
  • Food Addiction
  • Gambling Addiction
  • Sex and Love Addiction
  • Shopping Addiction
  • Gaming Addiction
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How Does Meditation Help in Addiction Recovery?

Negative thoughts often fuel addiction. You may believe these negative thoughts even if they are not true, and they can cause you to take self-destructive action in a bid to block them out.

For example, you might begin abusing a substance such as alcohol or drugs, or you might take solace in a specific activity such as gambling or shopping.

Addiction is a lonely illness and many addicts find it hard to relate to others who they believe will not understand what they are going through. Being alone with your negative thoughts can make you feel worthless and inadequate. You may have found that self-medicating with a chemical substance or partaking in a particular act made you feel better for a while. However, you have probably also found that in doing this, your problems have only worsened.

Those who struggle with addiction often feel this way, but meditation can really help. By learning how to meditate, you can become better at living in the moment; when unpleasant thoughts arise, you will be better equipped to deal with them.

Practising meditation every day gives you greater control over your emotions, ensuring that you can deal with stress better. When utilised in the treatment of addiction, it can help to reduce cravings. While it will not eliminate cravings altogether, you will find it much easier to see them for what they are and will then have the ability to resist.

By practising meditation when cravings manifest themselves, you will be giving your mind something else to focus on. You will very find that this is likely enough to make the cravings disappear. The wonderful thing about meditation for addiction recovery is that it is easy to learn. It can be taught during individual or group therapy sessions and there are also online courses and guides that will help you to perfect your technique.

Another benefit is the fact that meditation can be practised anywhere. Learning how to calm the mind, even for a few minutes, may be all you need to prevent a return to the substance or activity that you were addicted to. This is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal.

Meditation Techniques

Meditation can take many different forms; the type of technique that you use will usually depend on your own ability as well as the condition you are recovering from. Below are a few examples of meditation techniques that you might use:

  • Mindfulness Meditation – Mindfulness meditation is used to help you learn to focus on your thoughts but to accept them for what they are. With this technique, you will become aware of your surroundings and be present in the moment, but you will learn how to let your negative thoughts come and go without them affecting you.
  • Concentration Meditation – Concentration meditation involves focusing on a single point of reference. For beginners, this might mean trying to concentrate on a breath, object or thought for a few minutes, but over time, you can increase the time you are meditating. This is a process that can improve your concentration and reduce your stress levels.
  • Breathing Meditation – Breathing meditation allows you to focus on your breath so that your mind can relax. During this technique, you will learn how to bring your mind back to what you are doing if it wanders; this is known to be helpful when trying to avoid negative thoughts and actions.
  • Visualisation Meditation – Visualisation meditation teaches you to close your eyes and focus on an image that you find relaxing. This technique will soothe your mind and help to induce a feeling of relaxation. It is great for relieving stress and feelings of anxiety.
  • Counting Meditation – This technique involves counting to four while breathing in and then counting to eight while breathing out. The process of counting while focusing on breathing will take your mind off whatever is troubling you and can be an ideal way of dealing with cravings.

How Meditation Differs from Other Psychotherapies?

Meditation is different to other psychotherapies such as talking therapies that are designed to get to the heart of the problem or behaviour therapies that help to deal with negative actions and how to change them.

Meditation helps you to become more relaxed and aware of your surroundings. It is a treatment that is often used in conjunction with other psychotherapies to provide a much more comprehensive recovery programme, particularly in the treatment of addiction, behaviour disorders, and dual diagnosis.

Mindfulness improves overall wellbeing and reduces stress levels, which can be a contributing factor for many different conditions. When used in conjunction with counselling and therapy, it can help you to overcome your illness and avoid a return to it in the future. Being able to promote better mental clarity and awareness means that meditation can help to make you more receptive to other psychotherapies.

In fact, meditation can sometimes be integrated into other psychotherapeutic sessions to improve progress. For example, dialectical behaviour therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy can all be enhanced with mindfulness meditation to get better results.

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Co-Occurring Mental Disorders Meditation Treats Includes:

  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder
  • Stress
  • Unresolved Trauma
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Panic Disorder
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Eating Disorders

Other Supplemental Therapies

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy
  • Fitness Therapy
  • Psychodynamic Therapy
  • Art Therapy
  • Music Therapy
  • Equine Therapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Experiential Therapy
  • Family Therapy
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