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Are Mindfulness Practices Helpful in Addiction Treatment?

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Mindfulness practices are helpful in addiction treatment in many ways.  Most people with substance use disorders are plagued by negative thought patterns and beliefs that drive their desire to use drugs or alcohol.  In essence, their brain works against them.  Recovering from addiction is unlikely unless they change or learn to manage their thoughts.  

The ability to control one’s reaction to triggers is crucial to maintaining sobriety.  With mindfulness-based therapy, they gain a deeper sense of awareness and improved self-control.   

What Are Mindfulness Practices?

What is mindfulness therapy? Mindfulness is not a new concept. It was introduced by the Buddha about 2,500 years ago to help individuals come to a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.  

According to the Buddha, 

 “Be where you are; otherwise, you will miss your life.”

In recent years, Incorporating mindfulness-based practices in addiction treatment has shown significant positive results.

The purpose of mindfulness-based therapies is to help a person retrain their brain. For instance, repeated substance use trains the brain to depend on chemicals to produce pleasure.  To live a fulfilling life without addictive substances, one must learn other methods to get the feel-good sensation they seek.

Practicing mindfulness techniques helps a person discover better ways to experience the world around them.  It is a method that teaches the brain to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.  

Mindfulness can be practiced anytime, any place and it does not require a lot of time or energy.  No one is expected to adopt a certain belief system to practice mindfulness.  The only requirement is the willingness to make a change for the better.  The key is learning to pay attention to what is happening at the present moment.

Does Mindfulness Differ from Meditation?

Like mindfulness, meditation has been practiced for centuries.  Typically, meditation is performed by sitting quietly to focus on inner thoughts or tune in to the body.  In most cases, breathing exercises are part of the routine.  Meditation is a proven method for helping a person feel grounded and in the moment.  

Mindfulness and meditation differ in how they are practiced.  Meditation involves setting aside a time and place to practice for a specific amount of time.  Mindfulness, on the other hand, can be practiced at any time in any situation.

What Are the Different Types of Mindfulness Practices?

It’s easy to get distracted these days. Everyone is busy running errands, working, and talking on cell phones.  It seems like there are never enough hours in the day because there are so many things to do.  No wonder many people struggle with stress and anxiety.  Mindfulness practices can help individuals avoid feeling overwhelmed and resorting to drugs or alcohol as a coping tool.  

The 6 mindfulness practices most frequently used in addiction treatment are:

  1. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
  2. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
  3. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  4. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  5. Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP)
  6. Mindfulness-Based Therapeutic Community (MBTC)

Mindfulness is not about clearing your mind by blocking out thought.  It’s about teaching the mind to focus.  And, it’s a way to help a person understand that they are not their thoughts. Thoughts are simply inventions or constructs of the mind.  The mind can be taught to choose alternatives to a particular way of thinking.

Benefits of Mindfulness Therapy in Addiction Treatment

Substance use is an escape tool.  Many people use substances to avoid coping with the trials of daily life.  While under the influence of their drug of choice, people forget how to enjoy life naturally.  

During recovery, a person must avoid self-defeating thoughts that can lead to relapse.  Mindfulness therapy helps individuals see themselves in a positive light.

The most beneficial aspect of mindfulness therapy in addiction treatment is that it helps a person tune into their thoughts and emotions.  In this way, they are more likely to recognize potential relapse warning signs and take preventative measures.

Ultimately, mindfulness practices help relieve stress that can cause:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Sleep problems
  • Chronic pain

These health conditions are often the root cause of substance use disorders for some individuals.  In this regard, mindfulness practices are beneficial in helping people overcome their addictions by reducing stress-related contributing factors.

Discover How Design for Change Uses Mindfulness Practices in Addiction Treatment

Design for Change Recovery in Lancaster, CA offers a comprehensive program that incorporates mindfulness therapies alongside our other evidence-based methods.  We recognize the complex structure of addiction and the many contributing factors involved.  

Our approach to treatment addresses the physical, mental, and spiritual factors concurrently to facilitate whole-person healing.

Our goal is to help those struggling with substance abuse get their lives back on track.  We invite you to contact us by phone, email, or online to learn more about our mindfulness therapies and other treatment options.  


Are Mindfulness-Based Practices Helpful in Addiction Treatment?