How Can Meditation Therapy Help Treat Substance Abuse?

By Joseph McLean

The problem of substance abuse is one that has persisted for a long while now. This disorder is sensitive and complex and requires comprehensive treatment. Many rehabilitation programs involve meditation alongside evidence-based treatment like medications, individual therapy and group counseling.

Meditation is a powerful tool required during the recovery process for substance abuse. However, it is not stand-alone treatment and has to be combined with other forms of treatment.

Recovery centers for substance abuse have started to add meditation to their program and many people that encountered mindful practice and meditation during a treatment program has continued with it even after leaving rehabilitation. Meditation is a healthy habit that can help people recovering from drug abuse abstain from it.

What Is Meditation?

Meditation isn't a new practice as it's been in existence for as far back as thousands of years ago. It's a practice that aims to transform the mind encouraging you to develop your clarity, concentration, and emotional stability. It helps you to remain calm, focused and stay healthy by focusing on the connection between your mind and body.

There are different forms of meditation. You can meditate by looking for a quiet place to lie down or sit up while you focus on your breathing, a word or an idea. This will increase your mindfulness, and help you to become more aware of your thoughts, physical sensation or present feelings. Mindfulness involves accepting your thoughts and feelings without labelling or judging them.

There is no set time to meditate. Starters can meditate for few minutes at first before gradually increasing the time into longer sessions.

Types of Meditation

The lotus pose is the posture for meditation. It is a sitting posture with crossed legs and deep, slow breathing. Meditation changes the brainwaves, reduces anxiety, feelings of depression and emotional triggers. The different types of meditations are as follows:

  • Mindfulness meditation: This is the most popular and most practiced type of meditation. It helps to increase your concentration, focus and awareness.

  • Guided meditation: This encourages you to visualize a mental image of peacefulness with the aid of a teacher.

  • Zen meditation: This encourages a lack of reactivity in you and makes you calmer. It makes you more attentive to the present situation and encourages you to focus on what's in front of you rather than holding onto the past.

  • Transcendental meditation: This teaches you to be effortless in your pursuit of peace and helps you to reduce stress.


How Can Meditation Help Treat Addiction?

Meditation helps to improve your mental functioning, self-awareness, and inner peace. It also helps you detach from your impulses and thoughts, which will help you to reduce, and overcome your cravings, and also prevent a relapse. Meditation also helps to reduce your anxiety and stress levels and this is a very important factor in recovery. You can use meditation to calm our nerves, reduce your breathing rate and minimize negative feelings that make you reach out for the substances.

Apart from all the benefits mentioned above, if you are looking to improve your physical and mental health, meditation is the way to go. Some ways it's important for your health are as follows;

  • Stress levels: It brings about improvement in the individual's stress levels.

  • Blood pressure: Meditation can help to reduce blood pressure.

  • Pain relief: For individuals that practice meditation, it is capable of reducing their subjective pain ratings.

  • The immune system boost: Meditation is known to help boost the immune system of those practicing it.

  • Reducing depression: Meditation helps to reduce depressive symptoms in practicing individuals.

  • Improved sleep: Meditation enhances sleep in people with insomnia.

  • An anxiety relief: Meditation can help individuals to control their anxiety.

Some studies also suggests that meditating for a long period can lead to positive changes on the way the brain functions and its structure. Meditation is also said to cause the following positive changes in the body.

  • The brain experiences slow age-related changes.

  • Folds are formed on the cerebral cortex. This will lead to an increase in the speed of information processing, enhances the formation of memory and improve the individual's decision-making.

  • The amygdala, which is important in the regulation of stress and anxiety, have decreased gray matter on it. This reduces your feeling of fear and activates your anterior cingulate cortex which is responsible for governing your motor control and motivation.

The benefits of meditation are non-ending, as it also has other benefits such as the alteration of brainwaves, which causes a reduction in cortisol and also improves your psychological function. It also enhances your frontal cortex's performance. This is the part of the brain responsible for regulating your thinking and planning.

Meditation Exercises That Can Help With The Substance Abuse

There are different meditation exercises that are useful for different reasons. For addiction, the following meditation exercises are useful:

  • Meditation MountaintopBreathing: Place your focus on the inhaling and exhaling processes while you breathe naturally.

  • Movement meditation: This type of meditation involves other physical activities such as yoga, walking, surfing, hiking etc. While you're doing any of these activities, you have to be mindful of your body parts as they move.

  • Mantra-based: This meditation involves you repeating a phrase or a word internally or loudly while focusing your mind on the mantra. Try to bring your mind back each time it wanders from the mantra.

  • Progressive muscle relaxation: This meditation brings awareness to your different body parts. This will ultimately relax your nerves and muscles from your head down to your toe.

  • Guided: This involves a trained teacher guiding you throughout the process of meditation.

It's important to know that different exercises works for people differently. One technique might work for someone and not work for you. So if you want to adopt meditation as a way to curb your cravings and avoid a relapse, you must ensure that you are open-minded to try different meditation techniques to see the one that's best for you.


Meditation is an important complementary treatment to help with addiction cravings and withdrawal symptoms. People trying to heal from substance abuse can get meditation help with different online assignment help.

Joseph McLean is an experienced web project manager and freelance writer. His main focus is professional development for himself and his team. The favorite topics of his posts are business, motivation and self-growth. You can ask him like a friend for a proofreading with your custom papers, coursework help, assignment help or resume services, and also if you need some assignment writing help, feel free to contact him on Facebook .


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