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Relapse Prevention: Mindfulness over Matter

Mindfulness based stress reduction has become an integral part of addiction treatment programs in recovery centers. Incorporating mindfulness based practices into an individualized treatment plan produces great results. Used to treat depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, and more, mindfulness based practices alleviate symptoms and encourage recovery. Even physical ailments such as chronic lower back pain are proving to be greatly helped by mindfulness based practices.

For some providers, the mindfulness movement is not rooted in enough science. Dozens of scholarly articles are published every week on the evidenced success of mindfulness. Body, mind, and spirit are helped by these practices and science is proving it. Still, “evidence based” treatment modalities have been around longer. Despite growing evidence for mindfulness, providers are quick to stick with what they know.

Mindfulness for Relapse Prevention

Thankfully, there are movements encouraging a wider adoption of mindfulness practices. Evidence based relapse prevention and mindfulness based stress reduction have fused to create “Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention”. Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention uses meditation in combination with cognitive and behavioral skill building. Adjusting an addict’s relationship to their emotional state is a preventative measure when it comes to relapse.

Relapse is a process. Seeing relapse as a singular episodic occurrence undermines the power of addiction as a whole. Cravings and negative emotions are accomplices to the relapse continuum. Developing skills like emotional regulation and coping mechanisms are necessary for dealing with the negative emotions. Addiction is, in many ways, a coping mechanism for people who are unable to regulate their negative emotions. Cravings are a byproduct of the neuroscience of addiction. By way of association, when negative emotions return, cravings increase. Before picking up the first drink or drug, the brain has already assumed the substance has been consumed, hence cravings.

Meditation and mindfulness encourage healthy detachment. The association between negative emotions and cravings adjusts. In fact, brain images reveal that overtime, mindfulness and meditation practices actually change areas of the brain where cravings occur. Using the cognitive and behavioral skills fostered in a mindful way allows emotions to become an experience rather than a trigger. Living life on life’s terms becomes manageable without feeling vulnerable to life’s every whim.

The recovery process starts with healing, starts with hope, and starts with you. If you are interested in recovering from drug and alcohol addiction through a spiritually minded and holistic program of healing, call Enlightened Solutions today 833-801-5483.

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