Can Mindfulness Cure Opioid Addiction?

Mindfulness techniques have shown to be helpful for people who are in the process of overcoming a drug addiction. While not a cure for addiction by itself, it can be a useful supplement as part of a treatment program.

Can Mindfulness Cure Opioid Addiction

Mindfulness is traditionally described as a state of awareness that comes from keeping oneself grounded in the present moment.

In recent decades, it has become a focal element of certain treatments for substance abuse and addiction, including various behavioral therapies.

Mindfulness-based practice cannot necessarily “cure” opioid addiction by itself, but it can be a beneficial supplement as part of a full addiction treatment program.

Mindfulness For Opioid Addiction Recovery

The concept of mindfulness has been incorporated into a number of behavioral treatments commonly used for treating addiction, including opioid use disorders.

For instance, elements of mindfulness can be found in:

  • mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
  • dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • radically-open dialectical behavioral therapy (RO-DBT)
  • acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
  • mindfulness-based addiction therapy (MBAT)

Mindfulness is also a core element of Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention, a behavioral health treatment that aims to help prevent relapse in recovery.

Relapse is common among people with a substance use disorder, even among people who are able to receive professional substance abuse treatment.

Goals of MBRP include:

  • emphasizing openness and acceptance, rather than shame, guilt, or embarrassment
  • recognizing when urges to drink or use drugs arise, and learning how to manage them in the moment (i.e. “urge-surfing”)
  • accepting what you can and cannot control
  • altering your automatic or habitual response to triggers
  • identifying healthy coping skills that help you avoid addictive behaviors

Mindfulness-based stress reduction is another behavioral treatment for mental health and drug use that centers on mindfulness practice.

What Are Examples Of Mindfulness For Opioid Drug Addiction?

Mindfulness training and related holistic practices center around several different elements, and can be delivered in a number of ways.

Common elements of mindfulness practice for addiction include:

  • mindfulness meditation practice
  • grounding techniques
  • breathing exercises
  • self-inquiry
  • journaling
  • body scans
  • identifying triggers
  • examining your emotional responses
  • practicing acceptance skills

Mindfulness can be practiced with a therapist, counselor, and may occur in individual or group settings for optimal benefit during the recovery process.

Benefits Of Mindfulness For Addiction Recovery

Within a drug or alcohol rehab program, mindfulness is a learned skill that can serve people on their journey toward lifelong addiction recovery.

This can help you learn how to better manage triggers in your everyday life, drug cravings, difficult emotions, and help you stay grounded in the present moment.

Research shows it can also:

  • reduce depression and anxiety
  • improve focus
  • improve overall sense of well-being
  • improve working memory
  • reduce emotional reactivity
  • increase self-awareness
  • help reduce stress

It’s commonly thought of as a supportive coping skill – in contrast with substance use, which for some can be an unsupportive coping strategy.

How Mindfulness Fits Within A Rehab Program

Mindfulness practice is not a complete treatment for addiction to alcohol, opioids, or other forms of drug abuse by itself.

But it is offered as a component of many inpatient and outpatient treatment programs, in combination with other conventional addiction treatments.

Treatment for alcohol or drug addiction will often include:

  • detoxification (detox)
  • substance use counseling
  • cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • support groups
  • skills development groups
  • medication management
  • family therapy
  • relapse prevention planning
  • aftercare support

What all is offered within a rehab program will depend on the treatment facility, as well as their philosophy and type of drug rehab program.

Find Opioid Addiction Treatment That Offers Mindfulness Today

Practicing mindfulness in your daily life can help promote positive mental health and bolster your set of supportive coping skills in opioid addiction recovery.

To find an addiction recovery program that offers mindfulness training, call our helpline to find the right treatment program for you or a loved one today.

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