Meditation is an ancient practice that may date back to as early as 5000 BCE.1 Since this time, it has grown in popularity and form. It is now used for everything from spiritual discovery to addiction recovery.
Using Meditation for Substance Abuse
At our Massachusetts rehab center, we believe in a comprehensive approach to treatment. While our focus is on evidence-based treatment modalities, we also incorporate ancillary services into our programming like meditation. These secondary activities are meant to enhance the rehab experience and may also be beneficial in improving the overall well-being of some people.
In particular, meditation for addiction recovery is a common practice because of the many benefits that people believe it can have. There are also several forms of meditation that focus on different areas and may have unique advantages.
Meditation Benefits in Addiction Recovery
Addiction is an all-encompassing disease that can impact various aspects of a person’s life. Someone who is recovering from years of drug or alcohol abuse needs to heal in all of these facets. While everyone is different, there may be benefits of meditation in recovery to help some people in this healing process.
Whether you are still in rehab or you just left a residential treatment program, early recovery is stressful. Addiction cravings run high and there are always new challenges to face. Meditating in addiction recovery allows you to set time aside to stop and relax. Some research has even shown that meditation can help make people become less reactive to stress as well as recover from stress more easily.2
Boost Mental Well-Being
Another one of the potential benefits of meditation in addiction recovery is that it may positively impact your mental health. While results vary from study to study, there is evidence to suggest that mindfulness-based meditation can moderately improve anxiety and mood disorder symptoms.3 Especially if you are or were undergoing co-occurring disorder treatment for a mental health condition, meditating in recovery may help you continue to manage your symptoms.
Improve Physical Health
Along with the possible mental health benefits of meditation in addiction recovery, some people may also experience physical health benefits from meditation. In some studies, meditation has been found to lower blood pressure, improve heart health, and may even boost the body’s immune system.4,5 After years of damage to the body from substance misuse, meditation in recovery may help facilitate the physical healing process.
Get Better Sleep
Many people in recovery struggle to get good sleep as their body adjusts to no longer having the addictive substance in its system. Meditation may help change that. For some people, meditating may reduce insomnia and decrease fatigue.6
Some people who struggle with chronic pain will misuse their medications and eventually become addicted to them. After these people go through opioid dependence treatment, they can no longer rely on these drugs to help them with their pain. An alternative pain management technique may be meditation. In some research, mindfulness meditation has been shown to significantly reduce the intensity of pain.7
One of the unforeseen meditation recovery benefits may be its ability to connect people with their spirituality. For some people, this spirituality can act as a catalyst in their recovery journey and propel them forward.
While there are many potential benefits of meditation in recovery, meditation alone is often not sufficient. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance misuse, get help. At Vertava Health Massachusetts, our combination of evidence-based treatment modalities and secondary services could help you finally find lasting success in recovery.
- 1. Time — How Meditation Went Mainstream
- 2. NCBI — Mindfulness meditation training alters stress-related amygdala resting state functional connectivity: a randomized controlled trial
- 3. NCBI — The Effect of Mindfulness-Based Therapy on Anxiety and Depression: A Meta-Analytic Review
- 4. Health Harvard — Mindfulness can improve heart health
- 5. NCBI — Mindfulness meditation and the immune system: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials
- 6. JAMA Network — Mindfulness Meditation and Improvement in Sleep Quality and Daytime Impairment Among Older Adults With Sleep Disturbances A Randomized Clinical Trial
- 7. NCBI — Mindfulness meditation–based pain relief: a mechanistic account