Alternative treatment therapies for substance abuse problems are becoming increasingly popular, with many of them helping curb substance abuse. Alternative methods like mindfulness techniques have helped addicts manage their craving for illicit substances.
A recent study by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) suggested that mindfulness techniques like meditation may reduce the chance of relapse for certain people who are struggling with addiction to stimulants, like cocaine and methamphetamine.
The latest study, published online in the journal Mindfulness in August 2016, predicted that mindfulness techniques benefit those adults who are dependent on stimulants and were diagnosed with depression or anxiety. These psychiatric conditions are common among people with substance abuse problems.
The researchers conducted the study on a group of 63 adults who were dependent on stimulants and received behavioral treatment for their addiction for 12 weeks. After completion of four weeks of the treatment, the group was divided into two sections – one received mindfulness training designed for addiction treatment and the other group received only health education.
After completing their 12-week treatment, the UCLA researchers measured the changes in the participants’ use of stimulants and their symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Mindfulness training resulted in decreased use of stimulants
The study revealed that among the participants with major depression, 87 percent who received mindfulness training were not using stimulants at the end of 12 weeks. Among those who received only health education, 62 percent were not using stimulants.
After one month of the treatment, 100 percent depressed people who received mindfulness training ceased taking stimulants completely. As for the control group who had only received health education, only 50 percent stopped using stimulants. The findings were similar for anxiety disorder patients.
“Our findings suggest that mindfulness is especially helpful for people who struggle with anxiety and depression along with their addiction,” said lead author of the study Suzette Glasner, an associate professor at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.
“This might be because part of their reason for using drugs is to deal with those uncomfortable emotions. Mindfulness helps them manage their symptoms on their own, without turning to drugs and alcohol.” Mindfulness therapies as the means to address stress and anxiety are well-established. However, its efficacy in treating substance abuse problems is relatively a new concept. Earlier, studies on mindfulness techniques targeted people who were addicted to drugs and alcohol. But the UCLA study specifically focused on people addicted to stimulants.
The researchers found that mindfulness training not only helped curb stimulant use, but also managed to contain psychological symptoms to remain off the drugs.
People can also try some of these mindfulness techniques at home after a brief orientation from experts. Yoga and meditation techniques may also help mild addicts thwart their cravings for stimulants or other substances. These programs are based on evidence and have been corroborated by multiple studies around the world.
One can overcome addiction with the right intervention. Being an addict does not mean the end of the road. Millions of addicts have managed to get sober after receiving treatment and have been leading healthy lives.
If a loved one is addicted to any drug or abusive substance and you are looking for any residential drug rehab treatment program, you may call the 24/7 helpline number 855-980-1946 to find out about the need and benefits of inpatient drug treatment centers.
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