Meditation & Yoga for Addiction Recovery
The usefulness of meditation and yoga can be easily underestimated. When faced with the struggle of addiction and drug abuse, what good can breathing exercises and stretches do? But in part, this is to misunderstand addiction as well as meditation and yoga. Addiction is not simply a physical problem but one which affects all people. There are physical, psychological, neurological, and spiritual aspects to addiction and recovery. Meditation and yoga are not sufficient for treatment, but they can play an important role in the journey from addiction to recovery.
To better understand the issue, we will begin by looking into a few details about meditation, the usefulness of yoga, and how they can be utilized for addiction recovery. Finally, we will see what Cycles of Change Recovery have available.
Meditation and Its Benefits in Addiction Rehab
Meditation comes in many forms but, in general, consists of various techniques that are used to achieve mindfulness or increased awareness. Through meditation practices and meditation techniques, the individual can bring themselves to a different state of mind. The practice of meditation has been present in many cultures for thousands of years and exists as a part of nearly every major religion.[i]
The benefits of meditation may come in various forms. There has been researching lately indicating that meditation can reduce anxiety, depression, and physical pain. This is exceptionally important for substance abuse treatment since, in many cases, there are co-occurring mental illnesses and withdrawal symptoms that need to be addressed.
Beyond these, there are practical benefits such as becoming more aware of yourself, others, and the world around you, improving your mindfulness, and encouraging empathy toward others.
Possible Benefits of Meditation:
- Reducing anxiety
- Reducing depression
- Reducing physical pain
- Increasing awareness of self, others, and the world
- Improving mindfulness
- Encouraging empathy toward others
Yoga and Its Benefits
Yoga is often grouped with meditation and is related to it but has some important differences. Like meditation, the history and tradition of yoga go back thousands of years. In its original forms, yoga was often closely tied to meditation and focused on mental and spiritual growth. In many instances today, yoga is more closely associated with physician practices. Though there are many forms of yoga, a key component in most is the use of different positions similar to stretches.[ii]
There are many benefits that yoga can provide, including the following:
- Stress relief
- Increased physical stamina and strength
- Self-reflection and increased self-awareness
- Healthier exercise and eating habits
- Heightened self-confidence and improved self-image
- Pain relief
- Better sleep
- Increased energy levels
- Reduction in fatigue
- Emotional healing
- Overall health and wellness improvement[iii]
Like meditation, yoga by itself, or even combined with meditation, is not sufficient to treat addiction. However, both are tools that can be helpfully used in the pursuit of recovery.
Meditation, Yoga, and Addiction Recovery
When trying to understand the use of meditation and yoga for addiction recovery, it is helpful to recall the way drugs affect the body. One of the most significant issues is how drugs affect the brain areas that respond to pleasure; it is the stimulation of these areas of the brain, which helps to facilitate the addiction. Additionally, there are often long-lasting cognitive damages that occur from prolonged use of drugs.
It is useful to know this since there are now studies revealing lasting cognitive gains from meditation use.[iv] A study recently published has shown that cognitive improvements from meditation, including sustained attention and response inhibition, have been maintained by individuals for up to seven years. Furthermore, practices using meditation have been shown to decrease the following symptoms:
- Sympathetic nervous system activity
These results are important as they illustrate how practically useful meditation and yoga can be as forms of treatment. In beginning and maintaining recovery, withdrawal symptoms can be challenging to overcome. Yoga and meditation, along with the rest of a treatment plan and consistent care, can help individuals manage these symptoms and build new habits to deal with stressors in their lives.
Even more than just dealing with symptoms and physical issues, yoga and meditation provide opportunities for addressing psychological and spiritual issues. Addiction is not always a chance occurrence; sometimes, problems with addiction result from bad decisions and choices or the result of avoiding deeper issues. Solving problems of these sorts require dealing with internal pain of different types. If the symptoms are managed, and the individual makes it through treatment but has not addressed the deeper problems, it will be more difficult to avoid relapse in the future. Progress will be made once the root issues have been addressed and new habits have been formed and developed.
Addiction is a serious and complicated issue. Difficulties with the possibility of overdose, withdrawal, or co-occurring mental disorders serve only to compound the difficult nature of substance abuse. The last thing that any of us wants is to miss an opportunity to get the needed help.
Cycles of Change Recovery is convinced of the usefulness of yoga and meditation as a tool for recovery. In preparing treatment, we took the time to prepare individualized and progressive plans for each patient. Our priority is to help the patient on the path of recovery.
Because of the dangers involved in addiction and substance abuse, it is of great importance that helps in the form of treatment is sought out as soon as possible. At Cycles of Change Recovery, we want to come alongside those struggling with cocaine addiction and withdrawal symptoms to help transition into recovery. We can offer 24/7 on-site medical help and supervision, counseling, and consistent care to facilitate the process of healing. Please review our various programs[vi] to see what meets the situation or need. It is also recommended to review our accreditation,[vii] staff,[viii] and facility,[ix] so that you can be confident Cycles of Change Recovery is the right path for you or your loved one.
- [i] Kendra Cherry, “What is Meditation?” verwellmind. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-meditation-2795927. Accessed 3/10/2021.
- [ii] Hannah Nichols, “How does yoga work?” Medical News Today, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/286745. Accessed 3/14/2021.
- [iii] American Addiction Centers, “Using Yoga in Recovery,” https://americanaddictioncenters.org/12/therapy-treatment/yoga. Accessed 3/14/2021.
- [iv] University of California – Davis, “Seven-year follow-up shows lasting cognitive gains from meditation,” ScienceDaily, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180405093257.htm. Accessed March 14, 2021.
- [v] J. Andresen, “Meditation meets behavioral medicine. The story of experimental research on meditation” Journal of Consciousness Studies, Vol. 7, No. 11-12, 1 November 2000, pp. 17-74.
- [vi] https://cyclesofchangerecovery.com/programs/.
- [vii] https://cyclesofchangerecovery.com/about/accreditation/.
- [viii] https://cyclesofchangerecovery.com/about/staff/.
- [ix] https://cyclesofchangerecovery.com/about/palmdale/.