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Meditation and Addiction

There are many different therapies whose aim is to help addicts break free from their addictions. One of the newer therapies used to help addicts cope with addiction is meditation. Research shows that meditation and addiction are not in opposition to one another, but that meditation can be very beneficial in helping addicts to stop using drugs when it is used alone or even when combined with other therapies. In traditional drug addiction treatment programs, a wide variety of approaches are used to help addicts in their struggle to become addiction free. Detox is normally the first phase, and then typically individual and group counseling to educate the addict about the underlying causes of their addiction and specific individual triggers to use substances normally occurs. Learning how to adopt other non-destructive behaviors and activities, seeking support groups for encouragement and insight and even spiritual therapies are common place in many addiction treatment programs.  Meditation is being increasingly used regardless of the stage of treatment in the addiction treatment program. Meditation has been found to help addicts endure painful withdrawal symptoms during the detox phase of their treatment for addiction. It is also helpful throughout the rest of the drug addiction treatment program as it gives addicts something else to focus on other than obtaining drugs and helps them to remain calm and cope with stresses that might tempt them it relapsing and resuming drug use. There are even many different approaches to the meditation process itself. In general, meditation for addiction focuses on mindfulness. In this approach, the addict will sit in a position with the head elevated and the spine straight and concentrate on breathing without trying to control the individual breaths. Any sort of movement that arises during this meditation is done so with mindfulness and any thoughts that occur during the meditation are accepted without being judged. This can help the addict become aware of thoughts or temptations to use without then feeling the urge to act upon them. This type of meditation has been shown to be especially effective in prison populations who use meditation to deal with urges and cravings to drink alcohol. There are many other approaches and techniques for meditation. A great deal of information about how to get started meditating to help with addiction is available online as well as in any number of books and publications.  Regardless of one’s specific religious beliefs, there are guided meditations that are available that are non-denominational so that people of many faiths can use this additional therapy to help them become and remain drug free. Meditation is a low cost and practically free therapy to help anyone in their efforts to fight their addictions. When combined with other therapies it can shorten the time that is necessary for other therapies to work for the addict.  With the cost of addiction treatment rising along with other healthcare costs, the need for meditation as a treatment option is increasing.