A new study led by Suzette Glasner Ph.D., associate professor at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior has shown that mindfulness training can be a valuable tool in the recovery of people dealing with a substance use disorder.
“I thought that mindfulness training might be helpful for stimulant users because people — when they are in recovery from stimulant use disorders, and they are in the initial phases — [experience] a lot of discomfort and a lot of anxiety and depression,” Glasner said.
Last August, Glasner conducted a randomized clinical study, in which 63 adults with stimulant dependence were given standard behavioral treatment for addiction lasting 12 weeks. After a month, subjects were randomly assigned to one of two groups: a mindfulness training group or a control group receiving health education. At the end of 12 weeks, researchers concluded that 87 percent of patients with depression in the mindfulness group weren’t using stimulants compared to 62 percent of depressed patients who only received health education.
However, four weeks after treatment ended, 100 percent of depressed patients in the mindfulness training group were no longer abusing drugs. Conversely, 50 percent of patients in the control group were also no longer abusing drugs.
Former addicts who stop abusing substances are often faced with feelings of anxiety, sadness and depression, which often lead to relapse.
“What we teach in mindfulness training is explore your experience and pay attention to it,” said Glasner, who is also the author of “The Addiction Recovery Skills Workbook,” which outlines a seven-step program to help overcome drug and alcohol addiction.
Her method of therapy focuses on breathing, meditating and psychotherapy. That way the patient can objectively respond to their… (continue reading)