Although mindfulness has been around for thousands of years, it is primarily a product of the East (Asia, India). Mindfulness is now the new buzz word in addiction treatment in the West (U.S, Europe). Research and studies indicate its effectiveness not only for addiction but also for many other conditions.
The Kiloby Center for Recovery is one of the first treatment centers in the U.S. to focus exclusively on mindfulness in its approach, using it to treat addiction, anxiety, depression, stress and many other conditions.
The specific mindfulness approach used by the Center is based on Scott Kiloby’s book, “Natural Rest for Addiction: A Revolutionary Way to Recovery through Presence” as well as Scott’s Living Inquiries.
The following research was compiled from various resources by The Kiloby Center for Recovery to help its clients and potential clients better understand the effectiveness of mindfulness as an evidence-based practice.
Mindfulness Research/Studies on Addiction
The first studies on meditation and substance abuse came from practitioners of the transcendental meditation (TM) technique (Benson, 1975; Marcus, 1974). Promising results from these basic survey studies led Marlatt and Marques (1977) to begin using meditation as an intervention for high-risk drinkers. The success of the intervention led Marlatt and colleagues (1984) to conduct a randomized trial of three relaxation techniques (TM, deep muscle relaxation, and daily quiet recreational reading), in heavy-drinking college students. All three groups reported significant reductions in alcohol consumption, and those in the TM group reported the most consistent reductions in alcohol use. In a second randomized trial with college students, meditation and exercise were equally effective in reducing daily alcohol consumption, and both groups reduced their drinking significantly more than a nontreatment control group (Murphy, Pagano, & Marlatt, 1986). The evidence suggests that greater mindfulness is related to improved treatment outcomes. See Katie Witkiewitz, PhD, G. Alan Marlatt, PhD, Denise Walker, PhD, Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention for Alcohol and Substance Use Disorders, Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy: An International Quarterly Volume 19, Number 3 • 2005.
Authors evaluated the effectiveness of a mindfulness course on substance use and psychosocial outcomes in an incarcerated population. Results indicate that after release from jail, participants in the mindfulness course, as compared with those in a treatment-as-usual control condition, showed significant reductions in alcohol, marijuana, and crack cocaine use. Mindfulness participants showed decreases in alcohol-related problems and psychiatric symptoms as well as increases in positive psychosocial outcomes. Bowen, S. Witkiewitz, K., Dillworth, T.M., Chawla, N., Simpson, T.L., Ostafin, B., Larimer, M.E., Blume, A.W., Parks, G.A. and G. Alan Marlatt, G.A. (2006). Mindfulness meditation and substance use in an incarcerated population. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 20, 343-347.
Study provides evidence for the value of incorporating mindfulness practice into substance abuse treatment. Witkiewitz, K. & Bowen, S. (2010). Depression, Craving and Substance Use Following a Randomized Trial of Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78, 362-374.
Efficacy trial found that those randomized to mindfulness-based approach, as compared with those in a control group, demonstrated significantly lower rates of substance use and greater decreases in craving following treatment. Witkiewitz, K., Lustyk, M. B., & Bowen, S. (2013). Retraining the addicted brain: A review of hypothesized neurobiological mechanisms of mindfulness-based relapse prevention. Psychology Of Addictive Behaviors, 27(2), 351-365.
Efficacy was supported by significantly lower rates of substance use in those who received mindfulness training as compared to those in treatment-as-usual over the 4-month post-intervention period. Bowen, S., Chawla, N., Collins, S., Witkiewitz, K., Hsu, S.,Grow, J., Clifasefi, S., Garner, M., Douglass, A., Larimer, M., & Marlatt, A. (2009). Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention for Substance Use Disorders: A Pilot Efficacy Trial. Substance Abuse.30, 205-305.
Mindfulness-Based Sobriety: A Clinician’s Treatment Guide for Addiction Recovery Using Relapse Prevention Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing, Book by Nick Turner (available on amazon).
Study showing reduction in smoking cravings in college smokers. Bowen, S. & Marlatt, G. A. (2009). Surfing the Urge: Brief Mindfulness-Based Intervention for College Student Smokers. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 666-671.
Results of study suggest that mindfulness may be more efficacious than traditional addiction treatments for racial and ethnic minority women. Witkiewitz, K., Greenfield, B. L., & Bowen, S. (2013). Mindfulness-based relapse prevention with racial and ethnic minority women. Addictive Behaviors, 38(12), 2821-2824.
***The links for the following studies can be found at http://www.mindfulexperience.org/evidence-base.php
Chiesa, A. & Serretti, A. (2013). Are mindfulness-based interventions effective for substance use disorders? A systematic review of the evidence. Substance Use & Misuse.
Garland, E. L., Schwarz, N. R., Kelly, A.,… Howard, M. O. (2012). Mindfulness-oriented recovery enhancement for alcohol dependence: Therapeutic mechanisms and intervention acceptability. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 12(3), 242.
Katz, D. & Toner B. (2012). A systematic review of gender differences in the effectiveness of mindfulness-based treatments for substance use disorders. Mindfulness. doi: 10.1007/s12671-012-0132-3
Witkiewitz, K., Lustyk, M. K., & Bowen, S. (2013). Retraining the addicted brain: A review of hypothesized neurobiological mechanisms of mindfulness-based relapse prevention. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 27(2), 351-65.
Zgierska, A., Rabago, D., Chawla, N., Kushner, K., Koehler, R., & Marlatt, A. (2009). Mindfulness meditation for substance use disorders: A systematic review. Substance Abuse, 30(4), 266.
Research indicates that mindfulness helps individuals with self-control issues. Mindfulness: Theoretical Foundations and Evidence for its Salutary Effects, Kirk Warren Brown, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, Richard M. Ryan, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, J. David Creswell, University of California, Los Angeles, California. Psychological Inquiry, 2007, Vol. 18, No. 4, 211–237
Review of existent studies show promise for mindfulness treatment of addictive disorders. Integrating Mindfulness Meditation and Cognitive Behavioral Traditions for the Long-Term Treatment of Addictive Behaviors. Sarah Bowen, PHD, et al. http://www.academia.edu/2694194/CLNICAL_REVIEW-Integrating_Mindfulness_Meditation_and_Cognitive_Behavioral_Traditions_for_the_Long-Term_Treatment_of_Addictive_Behaviors
Mindfulness efficacy in the treatment of addictions, showing changes in one’s relationship to core addictive elements such as Craving (this article cites over 50 other articles and studies for support of its conclusion). Craving to Quit: psychological models and neurobiological mechanisms of mindfulness training as treatment for addictions. Judson A. Brewer, Hani M. Elwafi and Jake H. Davis, Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, Department of Philosophy, City University of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY, USA
The Addictive Behaviors Research Center at the University of Washington has undertaken a unique study on the use of meditation as a stand-alone treatment for alcohol and drug problems. The data from the study demonstrated that the Vipassana-mindfulness group reported greater reductions in frequency and intensity of cravings for alcohol. Katie Witkiewitz, PhD, G. Alan Marlatt, PhD, Denise Walker, PhD, Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention for Alcohol and Substance Use Disorders, Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy: An International Quarterly Volume 19, Number 3 • 2005.
Mindfulness Research on Stress
Harvard Scientists Find Proof of Benefit of Meditation. This article addresses a five year study showing biological changes in the brain and body. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-22/harvard-yoga-scientists-find-proof-of-meditation-benefit.html
***Links for the following research can be found at http://www.mindfulexperience.org/evidence-base.php
Bohlmeijer, E., Prenger, R., Taal, E., & Cuijpers, P. (2010). The effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy on mental health of adults with a chronic medical disease: A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 68(6), 539.
Chiesa, A. & Serretti, A. (2009). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for stress management in healthy people: A review and meta-analysis. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15(5), 593.
de Vibe, M., Bjørndal, A., Tipton, E.,… Kowalski, K. (2012). Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) for improving health, quality of life, and social functioning in adults. The Campbell Collaboration, 3.
Grossman, P., Niemann, L., Schmidt, S., & Walach, H. (2004). Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits. A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 57(1), 35.
Ledesma, D. & Kumano, H. (2008). Mindfulness-based stress reduction and cancer: A meta-analysis. Psycho-oncology, 18(6), 571.
Winbush, N. Y., Gross, C. R., & Kreitzer, M. J. (2007). The effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on sleep disturbance: A systematic review. Explore, 3(6), 585.
Khoury, B., Lecomte, T.,… Hofmann, S. G. (2013). Mindfulness-Based therapy: A comprehensive meta-analysis.
Mindfulness Research on Depression, Anxiety, Psychiatric Disorders
8-Week Mindfulness Training Shows Changes in Brain Structure. Study at University of Massachusetts. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110121144007.htm
***Links to the following research can be found at http://www.mindfulexperience.org/evidence-base.php
Chiesa, A. & Serretti, A. (2011). Mindfulness based cognitive therapy for psychiatric disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychiatry Research, 187(3), 441.
Fjorback, L. O., Arendt, M., Ornbøl, E.,… Walach, H. (2011). Mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy – a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 124(2):102.
Marchand, W. R. (2012). Mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and zen meditation for depression, anxiety, pain, and psychological distress. Journal of Psychiatric Practice, 18(4), 233.
Piet, J. & Hougaard, E. (2011). The effect of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for prevention of relapse in recurrent major depressive disorder. A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 31(6):1032.
Scherer-Dickson, N. (2004). Current developments of metacognitive concepts and their clinical implications: Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 17(2), 223.
Galante, J., Iribarren, S. J., & Pearce, P. F. (2012). Effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy on mental disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Journal of Research in Nursing.
Study on the emergence of mindfulness as treatment for depression. University of Massachusetts Medical School, Psychiatry Issue Brief, See http://escholarship.umassmed.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1079&context=pib