Like yoga, tai chi and related practices, Mindfulness Recovery involves a purposeful and nonjudgmental focus on one’s feelings, experiences, and internal and external processes in the present moment. Addiction is an automatic behavior used to escape difficult feelings or situations, whereas mindfulness involves conscious and deliberate focus on difficult emotions as a way to disarm them and interrupt habitual patterns like drug or alcohol use. In many ways, mindfulness is the opposite of addiction.
Other research suggests that mindfulness practice may increase grey-matter density in the hippocampus (the area associated with learning and memory) and decrease grey-matter density in the amygdala, which can help regulate stress and anxiety. In just eight weeks of mindfulness practice, we can alter the neural pathways in the brain. For example, the mid-prefrontal cortex and the mid-insular region of the brain become thicker with greater mindfulness practice (Lazar et al. 2005), promoting a sense of well-being and creativity.
Is Mindfulness Recovery a good Tool for Relapse Prevention?
Dr. Alan Marlatt introduced mindfulness-based behavioral relapse prevention (MBRP) as a way to help recovering addicts. In this approach, cravings and urges are not seen as some mystical, overpowering force but as a series of passing thoughts and feelings that peak and then disappear much like a wave. In one study comparing MBRP and standard relapse prevention programs, recovering addicts who completed the MBRP program had significantly lower rates of substance use over the four-month follow-up period and reported fewer cravings as well as improvements in acceptance and awareness. Other useful techniques include deep breathing and body scanning, which involves paying close attention to sensations in different parts of the body.
Are you or a loved one Suffering from Drug or Alcohol Addiction?
The Kiloby Center for Recovery is the first substance abuse treatment center in the U.S. to focus primarily on mindfulness. Our work is based on a cutting-edge approach developed by Scott Kiloby. Call us today, our consultants are standing by 24/7 to help guide you in the path of Recover. 1-866-kiloby-5