Meditation Treatment for Substance Use: Embracing Peaceful Recovery Paths

How is meditation used as treatment?

In our evolving understanding of substance use and addiction treatment, we are witnessing a shift towards more holistic and non-invasive approaches. Gone are the days of solely relying on punitive measures; instead, we are embracing a more comprehensive alternative. Among these alternatives, meditation treatment stands out as a powerful tool in aiding individuals on their journey toward recovery.

But how is meditation used as a treatment? Well, many centers and therapists are already beginning to add meditation practices to substance abuse treatments. Through focused attention and mindfulness practices, meditation helps people cultivate awareness of their thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations, fostering a sense of inner calm and clarity.

In this blog, MAT Care Clinics will explore the benefits of meditation in supporting recovery, the various types of meditation, and how it complements medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs.

What is Meditation

According to NCCAM, meditation is a practice that involves focusing one’s mind on a particular object, thought, or activity to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state. Many forms of meditation exist, many of which have roots in ancient religious or spiritual practices. Typically, when someone meditates, they employ specific methods like posture, concentration, and a receptive mindset towards distractions.

Individuals meditate for different purposes, such as reducing stress, achieving mental equilibrium, managing health issues, or boosting overall well-being. In addition, the study “Meditation: Process and Effects identifies multifaceted benefits of meditation, including stress reduction, emotional well-being, pain management, cognitive enhancement, and physiological health improvements, including cardiovascular health and brain function. Moreover, its potential to influence gene expression and promote telomerase activity suggests implications for longevity.

The Core of Meditation

The main intention of meditation is mindfulness – paying attention to the present moment without judgment. It helps us notice our thoughts, feelings, and body sensations without getting too caught up in them. This awareness not only fosters inner peace and self-awareness but also empowers individuals to navigate challenges, including those related to substance use, with greater clarity and resilience.

How Meditation Helps with Substance Use Treatment

Substance use

Meditation plays a crucial role in supporting substance use treatment by addressing underlying issues often overlooked by conventional approaches. Many individuals turn to substances as a means of coping with stress, trauma, or unresolved emotional pain. While traditional treatments primarily focus on eliminating substance use, they often fail to address these root causes, leading to a higher risk of relapse.

While meditation treatment alone may not serve as a standalone therapy for substance use disorder, it can significantly complement primary programs by offering a holistic approach from the perspective of the mind. By incorporating meditation into treatment plans, individuals can cultivate mindfulness and self-awareness, enabling them to understand their triggers and cravings better. Through regular practice, meditation helps individuals develop healthier coping mechanisms, manage stress more effectively, and regulate their emotions.

In addition, According to the study “Mindfulness Meditation in the Treatment of Substance Use Disorders,” chronic substance use dysregulates stress response systems, exacerbating SUDs. Meditation has demonstrated efficacy in mitigating this dysregulation by reducing stress reactivity and facilitating recovery. Researchers revealed that meditation increases heart rate variability (HRV), a marker of adaptive stress regulation, while also decreasing neural activity in brain regions linked to stress and negative emotions.

Moreover, meditation promotes a sense of inner peace and well-being, reducing the need for external substances to cope with negative feelings or experiences. It allows individuals to develop a deeper connection with themselves and their emotions, fostering self-compassion and acceptance. Additionally, meditation can improve impulse control and decision-making skills, empowering individuals to make healthier choices and resist cravings.

Benefits of Meditation Treatment to Support Your Recovery

If you are undergoing treatment with MAT, participating in a 12-step program or outpatient program, or just exploring options, consider also adding practices with a different and reflective approach, such as meditation treatment. Mindfulness not only provides a connection with your inner self; it also has excellent benefits in maintaining and supporting your recovery process, including:

  • Harvard Health associates meditation with reduced symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders commonly co-occurring with substance use disorders
  • Consistent meditation enhances cognitive abilities like attention, memory, and decision-making, which are commonly affected by substance use
  • By learning how to respond to stressors more effectively, meditation equips individuals with valuable coping skills that support long-term recovery
  • Meditation promotes overall well-being by fostering a deeper connection with oneself, others, and the world around them. It can lead to increased feelings of happiness, fulfillment, and purpose in life

Types of Meditation

wellness

Although meditation is an ancient practice that has evolved through various approaches and techniques over the centuries, you can begin with one of the following options:

Body-based Meditation – Include yoga, tai chi, and Qigong. These practices combine movement with meditation methods to enhance physical, mental, and emotional well-being. They can improve flexibility, balance, body awareness, and mental tranquility.

Zen Meditation (Zazen) – Rooted in Zen Buddhism, Zazen meditation requires sitting in a specific posture and concentrating on the breath or a koan (a paradoxical question) to gain insights and clarity. It emphasizes the significance of posture, breath control, and mindfulness.

Breath Awareness Meditation – This technique involves concentrating solely on the breath, observing its rhythm and sensation as it enters and leaves the body. It fosters relaxation and helps individuals cultivate a deeper awareness of their physical sensations.

Mindfulness Meditation – This method entails focusing on the present moment, often by attending to the breath or bodily feelings, while acknowledging thoughts and emotions without judgment.

Transcendental Meditation (TM) – TM involves silently repeating a mantra to quiet the mind, leading to a profound state of relaxation and inner peace.

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Achieve Long-Term Recovery with MAT Care Clinics

While meditation offers significant benefits in substance use treatment, it is most effective when integrated into a comprehensive treatment approach. MAT uses FDA-approved medication to address substance use disorders holistically.

MAT Care Clinics have been instrumental in making medication-assisted treatment available and accessible to individuals seeking a path to sobriety. With a patient-centered approach, our clinics in Nashua and Manchester have witnessed numerous success stories where patients have reclaimed their lives from the grips of addiction.

Call us today at (833) 622-0628 or schedule a free consultation to learn more about our comprehensive treatment programs and how they can empower you to achieve lasting recovery.

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