Mindfulness is a type of therapy involving calming thoughts, breathing and meditation, and a focus on being in the present. At Castle Craig our trained therapists use mindfulness in group therapy and during one-to-one sessions with patients. Mindfulness meditation can help to treat:
It alleviates symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) such as hyperarousal and flashbacks and also helps to reduce physical pain.
How Mindfulness Meditation Works
Mindfulness is about focusing on the “here and now” and acknowledging and accepting each thought and feeling as it is. It helps patients recognise and detach themselves from negative feelings, rather than looking for a release via drink or drugs. A higher level of self-awareness can help the patient break the automatic and habitual cycle of addiction.
Mindfulness has been proven to thicken the right pre-frontal cortex of the brain, the part most damaged by alcohol and drug abuse, and the area responsible for optimism, creativity, well-being and rational thought.
Mindfulness & Relapse Prevention
Experiences of craving, strong emotions and negative thoughts often act as powerful “triggers” for relapse into substance abuse. Mindfulness meditation helps the patient identify and manage their cravings and associated thought patterns in a non-judgemental manner. For example, a recovering patient who is feeling anxious about relapse can become aware of this anxiety, and come to accept it rather than trying to submerge it with drinks or drugs. This ‘non-judgemental’ element also fosters a deep personal understanding where the individual is less vulnerable to blame, guilt and self-doubt.
Whilst research in mindfulness meditation therapy is still in its infancy, early studies show promising results for its role in treating substance abuse. Mindfulness meditation is no panacea for all mental health problems, but it is a powerful therapy when used alongside other treatments.