Stress, Addiction and Mindfulness-Based Therapies

Stress, Addiction and Mindfulness-Based Therapies

Stress is powerful and destructive. It attacks one’s frame of reference. Stress can send a recovering addict straight into the arms of active addiction. It courses throughout the body like a tidal wave. It leaves devastation in its wake, at first, there are only small pockets of residue left behind, but eventually it corrupts the body’s ability to fight disease, to maintain a positive attitude, or to cope with the everyday stressors of living.

Decades have passed since the introduction of biofeedback occurred where patients learned to focus attention on calming bodily function using electric cues. Relaxing muscles and focusing on relaxation were found to alter the person’s physical and mental state. In 1979, MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) program was introduced to patients with physical and mental health problems. And that began the movement acknowledging the mind/body connection. Today researchers are actively looking at the impact of practicing mindfulness in treating many diseases: including addiction! Mindfulness therapy teaches the patient to:

  • Pay attention in the moment
  • Awareness and acceptance of thoughts and feelings
  • Re-preceive thoughts

According to a Study published in Substance Abuse Oct/Dec. 2009, researchers found that Mindfulness-based interventions produced positive results in overcoming experiential avoidance. The ability to look at the thought or feeling in the moment without judgment enabled clients to respond differently to those thoughts and feelings. Clients were able to interrupt poor behavioral choices, and automatic responses were avoided. A series of papers called for by the National Institute of Health indicated that those who received Mindfulness-based therapies experienced fewer cravings, and experienced stress reduction.

In a study published in JAMA Psychiatry, Sarah Bowen, of the University of Washington in which participants learned Mindfulness based therapy, received standard relapse prevention, or attended 12-Step programs. Six months after the intervention the two therapeutic groups fared better than those in 12-Step programs. However, one year later, those who received the mindfulness-based therapy did better than the other two groups in reducing relapse to both drugs and alcohol. (based upon an article in the Greater Good/The Science of a Meaningful Life, UCBerkley July 2014)

The primary goals of MBRP (Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention) are to foster awareness of triggers, destructive behavioral patterns, and automatic responses. According to the University of Washington’s website: “The mindfulness practices in MBRP are designed to help us pause, observe present experience, and bring awareness to the range of choices before each of us in every moment. We learn to respond in ways that serve us…”

Recovery Passport Solutions Offers Applications to Support Mindfulness Training

There is no one-way to steel oneself against the carnage of addiction. There is no one-way to find a stable foundation for recovery. A multifaceted approach to recovery helps build the strong base that puts relapse off for longer and longer periods of time. At the core of any of these combined efforts is the issue of choice. Addicts suffering from shame, depression, anxiety may feel overwhelmed. They do not or have not realized that there is always a choice and there are always consequences be they negative or positive. But, as a client moves through treatment, the understanding and awareness needed to make better choices develops. Practice is needed.

Recovery Passport Solutions provides those who are struggling through early treatment and aftercare with additional tools to support Mindfulness-based therapies and relapse interventions. The design of this comprehensive electronic platform addresses client issues at all phases of treatment and recovery.

Our electronic applications provide clients with 24/7 access to games that foster goal setting, identifying feelings, tracking behavioral patterns, learning life skills, staying connected to a therapist, as well as to a network of sober individuals. All these elements support one’s ability to identify negative thinking and choices. The component parts of Recovery Passport Solutions also allow a client practicing Mindfulness to see how it plays out in their current life choices.

These simple, engaging tasks and actions enable the client to see progress even in the smallest actions. Progress is acknowledged and that feeds self-esteem and builds a positive attitude. A positive experience, even a small one, gives the client hope that change is possible and that making a healthy life affirming choice is worth the effort because the payoff feels good.

Recovery Passport Solutions helping clients break the bondage of addiction and relapse.

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