Using Meditation to Reduce Relapse Rates
The statistics are nothing short of terrifying: 40 to 60% of those who go through drug addiction treatment relapse within a year. Reducing that rate of relapse is an absolute must, and one new study suggests mindfulness meditation training may be able to do just that.
Mindfulness Relapse Prevention
Before looking at the results of the study, understanding mindfulness meditation relapse prevention is a must. The program itself means two-hour group sessions, which include a half-hour of guided meditation and a discussion of the experience. The goal is to focus on bodily sensations as well as thoughts and feelings. Overall, the program seeks to help people deal with cravings or other negative feelings by helping them learn to deal with those feelings instead of fight with them.
The study recruited 286 people who had successfully completed treatment, and then randomized one of three approaches to post treatment success. Typical post treatment follow-up means cognitive behavioral relapse programming or pyscho-education and 12-Step programming. The new approach was mindfulness meditative training. All 286 participants underwent eight weekly group sessions and were then monitored for twelve months. Researchers were looking for whether participants relapsed and how often they participated in substance use. Follow-up was conducted after three, six, and nine months, and then again at the twelve month mark.
The study suggested that those individuals with mindfulness training reported fewer relapses. Those who did relapse reported fewer days of drug and alcohol abuse.
What It Means
While results like these certainly provide hope for many, it does warrant further study to help maximize the effectiveness of the overall strategy. It may prove that mindfulness training is the perfect complimentary therapy to drug and alcohol treatment, and thanks to the fact that the sessions are short, the approach may be perfect.