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The Benefits of Meditation in Addiction Recovery

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health explains that meditation is a mind-body activity intended to promote relaxation, help people cope with illnesses, and improve well-being. More specifically, meditation is defined as “a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.” Meditation has the propensity to profoundly impact treatment outcome because of neuroplasticity. Frontiers In Psychology defines neuroplasticity as “a general umbrella term that refers to the brain’s ability to modify, change, and adapt both structure and function throughout life and in response to experience.” Hence, the brain is a continuously evolving organ. Neural pathways are developed through synaptic connections that occur in one’s brain, directly resulting from a person’s habits and behaviors. These connections create a map of a myriad of circuits within one’s brain, influenced by outside stimuli, enabling the brain to process various experiences, and are essential in how the brain retains and accesses information. Neural pathways strengthen with repetition and can similarly become obsolete without repetition. Hence, because meditation practices require repetition, they have the propensity to change and heal the brain.

Benefits

There are numerous benefits of meditation, particularly for individuals recovering from substance abuse and/ or addiction, some of which include the following:

  • Physiologically, participating in a regular practice of meditation can result in an individual lowering his or her blood pressure, can help to improve one’s heart rate, and can even help to improve one’s breathing. 
  • Results from one study indicate that participants who regularly practiced meditation throughout the study had lowered the thickness of their arterial walls, and further concludes that “meditation has been shown to lower blood pressure levels and reduce cardiovascular disease risk in adults and adolescents.”
  • Research indicates that mindfulness practices, such as meditation, lead to an increase in the production of theta and alpha waves, which are the brain wave frequencies associated with enhanced learning abilities and overall mental well-being. 
  • Meditation can be beneficial to the addiction recovery process as it is known to reduce the risk of relapse.
  • Clinical findings indicate that the tranquility effects elicited through meditation can be directly correlated to a reduction in one’s stress levels, producing a positive effect on one’s immune system, and boosting one’s mood.
  • One study concluded that meditation practices are directly correlated to “changes in gray matter concentration in brain regions involved in learning and memory processes, emotion regulation, self-referential processing, and perspective taking.” 

Meditation is associated with a wide range of emotional, physical, and psychological benefits, all of which can promote recovery, improve mental health, and enrich one’s overall quality of life.

For Information and Support 

Substance abuse and addiction can be incredibly dangerous and can result in severe short and long-term consequences. If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse or addiction, please get help as soon as possible. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to leading happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives. There is no reason to go through this alone, and we are here to help. Please feel free to reach out to us for further information or with any questions regarding substance abuse or addiction. We are available anytime via telephone at: 213-389-9964, or you can always email us at: info@friendlyhousela.org

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