Meditation can help with reducing addictions
Addictions are complex conditions that plague millions of people. Addictions to tobacco, alcohol, food or drugs for example often require a comprehensive treatment plan. That plan typically includes talk therapy, support groups, and, if needed, medication. However, complementary and alternative medicine practices, particularly meditation, can provide a vital source of additional support and a way to reduce cravings, increase balance and self awareness and change habits. This is because meditation can be practiced by anyone, regardless of spiritual or religious beliefs or the craving or habit that they have formed.
Part of the value of Meditation is that those wishing to recover from addictions can practice it even after the initial recovery period is complete. This makes meditation a valuable tool they can use to stay away from their addiction for the rest of their lives.
Meditation is effective because it rewires critical pathways in the brain. In one study, people who meditated for approximately 30 minutes daily for 8 weeks showed an increase in gray matter in the parts of the brain associated with learning, memory, self-awareness, and introspection. In addition, brain imaging revealed that participants also showed a decrease in gray matter in areas linked to anxiety and stress.
By changing how their brain processes self-awareness, introspection, anxiety, and stress, addicts can reasonably evaluate everyday situations, and react to them more appropriately.
Meditation may be an excellent supplement to your treatment program. Talk to your addiction counselor about incorporating it into your treatment.
Live Science research information: