Many people who undergo treatment for addiction will relapse and begin using drugs again soon after their therapy ends, but a new study suggests that meditation techniques may help prevent such relapses.
In the study, 286 people who had been treated for substance abuse were assigned to receive one of three therapies after their initial treatment: a program that involved only group discussions, a "relapse- prevention" therapy that involved learning to avoid situations where they might be tempted to use drugs, and a mindfulness-based program that involved meditation sessions to improve self-awareness.
Six months later, participants in the both the relapse prevention and mindfulness group had a reduced risk of relapsing to using drugs or heavy drinking compared with participants in the group discussions group.
And after one year, participants in the mindfulness group reported fewer days of drug use, and were at reduced risk of heavy drinking compared with those in the relapse prevention group. This result suggests that the mindfulness-based program may have a more enduring effect, the researchers said. [Mind Games: 7 Reasons You Should Meditate]
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