Posted on Oct 24, 2019, 5 p.m.
Addiction to opioids can be debilitating and have fatal consequences. This addiction is a hard habit to kick and forces many to seek out help from various treatment methods such as rehab and counseling. Rutgers University research suggests that a combination of mindfulness techniques and medications may help those who are trying to break the addiction and suffer chronic pain to experience fewer cravings and less pain.
The effects of mindfulness and methadone therapy was analyzed in 30 patients suffering with opioid addiction paired with chronic pain. Mindfulness is a meditative technique that centers on clearing the mind of all intrusive thoughts to focus completely on the present moment.
As published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence analysis revealed that those who received combination treatments of mindfulness along with methadone were 1.3 times more capable of controlling opioid cravings, and the meditative patients displayed lower levels of pain and stress as well as more overall positivity compared to those who had received traditional counseling and methadone.
Those who received mindfulness training were also more aware of the opioid cravings they were experiencing, but the calming nature of meditation allowed them to be better equipped to deal with the cravings and suppress those feelings.
“Methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) has been an effective form of medication treatment for opioid use disorder,” comments Associate Professor Nina Cooperman, a clinical addiction psychologist at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, in a release. “However, nearly half of individuals on MMT continue to use opioids during treatment or relapse within six months.”
Most people with opioid addiction also suffer from some combination of anxiety, depression, or chronic pain, mindfulness training is an ideal treatment approach as it has been shown to be helpful in alleviating all of these conditions.
Mindfulness based interventions helped patients in this study to become more aware of their bodies which allowed them to have greater self control over their cravings. The increased self awareness can help those who are addicted to opioids refrain from making poor and hasty decisions in the event of emotional or physical pain.
Several studies have shown that meditation can help people to reduce negative thoughts and focus on positive events in their lives, this may also prove to be beneficial for opioid addiction patients as they struggle to control emotions while dealing with their addiction.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.