How Effective are Mindfulness and Other Holistic Therapies In Addiction Treatment?
Drug and Alcohol Use Disorders (DUDs and AUDs) continue to be some of the most prevalent health issues people face worldwide. If you struggle with substance dependence or addiction, you know that your relationships and health are regularly compromised. As holistic therapies arise, many wonder about the efficacy and feasibility of using mindfulness and other holistic therapies in addiction treatment.
There’s good news; researchers continue to find positive benefits in using mindfulness and other holistic therapies in addiction treatment. Better, holistic rehab Arizona programs utilize that research for effective treatment therapies.
What Is Mindfulness?
The term ‘mindfulness’ may seem like it’s a new trend. In actuality, mindfulness practices have roots that go back over two centuries and tie-in with the teachings of Buddha. In the last several decades, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn has led the way for bringing the power of mindfulness and meditation into mainstream medicine. Dr. Kabat-Zinn is a Professor Emeritus of Medicine. He is the creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. His work has been pivotal in reducing stress and enhancing well-being and health with mindful practices.
It’s because of his work that mindfulness has become so popular. It has become an alternative therapy protocol for issues like depression and substance abuse disorders.
Mindfulness is simply paying attention to something in a certain way, with purpose and in the present moment, but without any judgment. Mindfulness focuses on regulating your thought processes and attitudes. As of the last several years, many also focus on the purpose to better themselves.
What Does Mindfulness Do To The Brain?
Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBI) are increasingly popular treatment options because they focus on the neural rewiring of the brain. There’s significant research that supports the idea of mindfulness and meditation being able to change brain structure for the better. Meditation and the practice of mindfulness require you to focus and purpose your attention on specific thoughts and ideas. Therefore, your attention is enhanced. When this happens, the part of your brain associated with attention (the anterior cingulate cortex) changes its neural activity and structure in response.
This means that practicing mindfulness can help improve your emotional-regulation, self-regulation, your self-awareness, and your self-control. Mindfulness can help reduce stress. Studies suggest that the fronto-limbic networks involved in emotional regulation and stress are also engaged when you practice mindfulness meditation.
Traditional dependence and addiction therapy also focus on those same thought processes and brain changes. It’s no wonder that mindfulness and other holistic therapies in addiction treatment are so popular. In fact, holistic rehab Arizona programs combine evidence-based science and mindfulness with other holistic therapies in addiction treatment for the best outcomes for long-term sobriety.
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How Can Mindfulness Treat Dependence and Addiction?
You may turn to alcohol or drugs because you like the feeling of being ‘high’ or ‘calm’ or ‘relaxed.’ In fact, your prefrontal cortex (or your brain’s happiness center) is super stimulated when you are intoxicated. It’s also very under-active (leaving you feeling low and craving) when you are not using.
But a study by Harvard neuroscientist Dr. Sara Lazar found that those who meditate and practice mindfulness have more neural density. They also learned they have a cortical thickness and more overall activity in their prefrontal cortexes than those who don’t.
This means that you can use mindfulness and meditation to train your brain to be ‘naturally high’ and have similar activity in your prefrontal cortex. Meditation has also been found to supercharge your body with endorphins. This gives you similar feelings to those drugs or alcohol. Replacing substance highs with a healthy and holistic ‘meditator’s high’ is a powerful way to break the chains of substance addiction.
Holistic Therapies In Addiction Treatment: Mindfulness Is Just The Beginning
A holistic approach combined with conventional, evidence-based treatment brings you the best chance of maintaining sobriety for a lifetime. Holistic therapies in addiction treatment are proven over and over as effective and beneficial in holistic rehab Arizona, not just for treatment but for long-term life skills.
At Springboard Recovery, we know that it’s important to focus on your whole health—your mental, physical and emotional well-being. We incorporate holistic approaches for the best outcome. We recognize the effect that mindfulness and yoga can bring to the table when guiding you away from addiction. Springboard Recovery offers several holistic treatment options and amenities to address your needs individually. We have a stunning yoga studio and swimming pool to encourage your mindfulness practices and exercise. We offer the 12-step programming with daily meditations and reviews of your day. There is a gourmet kitchen to support your proper nutrition. We also offer individual and group therapies to bring your mind into balance as you battle your dependence.
Research continually finds that holistic therapies in addiction are beneficial. Holistic rehab Arizona programs like the ones we offer at SpringBoard Recovery take the best of all approaches to bring you to the end of your addiction. If you’re ready to take the steps toward your substance-free life, we’re ready and waiting to guide you through. Give us a call today.