Meditation is often included as part of a substance use disorder treatment program. Many treatment professionals have discovered that meditation works to help those in treatment and that it is an effective tool to put into their arsenal as they treat addiction.
Meditation and Mood
Whether or not addiction is involved, meditation works by changing the mood of the person who engages in it. Meditation acts to regulate practitioners’ emotions, which can so easily get out of control and lead people to use drugs or alcohol in an effort to feel better. Meditation involves mindfulness, which gets people to slow down and realize just what it is that they are feeling so they can deal with it better.
Over time, meditation actually changes your brain in significant ways. New neural connections are formed that can overcome the old ones that were associated with depression or anxiety, making it easier to control these feelings when they do occur. It is not that you have to deny the feelings; on the contrary, mindfulness encourages you to embrace the feeling, at least initially, so that you can let it go.
Meditation Lowers Stress Levels
Another effect of meditation is to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can make you feel more relaxed. When your stress hormones are lower, you feel more under control and you can make better decisions about whether to use drugs or alcohol. It is much harder to resist triggers and temptations when your stress levels are under control. Just knowing how meditation has helped you previously may help your anxiety when stress begins to mount and prevent you from falling back into old patterns.
One study of the effect of meditation on smoking cessation showed that those who used mindfulness meditation were far more likely to stop smoking and continue not to smoke than those who used other methods. It only stands to reason that if meditation can work for smoking cessation, it can also be effective for other types of addictions.
Meditation Is a Natural Treatment
Many current treatments for drug and alcohol misuse involve various drugs that are used to help people detox or help their bodies tolerate the removal of the substance being misused. These medications are often helpful for many people, but they may have side effects that can affect some people quite seriously. These medications are usually temporary measures, so developing a mindfulness practice can aid in long-term recovery.
Meditation is a natural treatment that requires no medications and is, for some people, more effective than medication in some cases. People do not develop a tolerance for meditation over time, but instead, it usually continues to be effective for as long as it is used. As a long-term strategy, meditation is easy to administer and can be done at home without assistance. Meditation helps battle addiction for many people who do not want to depend on medication over a long period of time.
The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake offers comprehensive Colorado addiction treatment including meditation for those who find it effective and helpful. Contact us to learn more about treatment options today!