Eating healthy, research shows, can go a long way toward helping you on the road to addiction recovery.
“Mindfulness” Meditation Can Help Reduce Addiction Relapse Rates: Study. By Join Together Staff | March 25, 2014
An approach to meditation called “mindfulness,” which teaches self-awareness, can be effective in preventing relapses of drug and alcohol abuse, a new study suggests. Mindfulness meditation aims to help people understand what drives cravings, and to better deal with the discomfort they create.
Researchers at the University of Washington studied 286 people who had successfully completed a substance abuse treatment program, and randomly assigned them to one of three groups: mindfulness meditation, a 12-step program, and a traditional relapse-prevention program.
They found a treatment program that incorporates mindfulness meditation was more effective in preventing relapses over the long term, compared with traditional addiction treatment approaches, according to Reuters. One year after treatment, about 9 percent of participants in the mindfulness program reported drug use, compared with 14 percent of those in a 12-step program, and 17 percent in a traditional relapse-prevention program.
About 8 percent of participants in the mindfulness program also reported heavy drinking after one year, compared with about 20 percent in the other two groups. The findings appear in JAMA Psychiatry.
Researcher Sarah Bowen noted about 11 percent of people in the United States with substance abuse problems seek treatment annually, and between 40 to 60 percent relapse. Many traditional relapse prevention programs include a 12-step program that emphasizes abstinence. Others are based on cognitive-behavioral therapy, which teaches people to confront and deal with particular situations, such as refusing alcohol and drugs.
Addiction: Identity and Connection Influence Relapse Rates
The words you use to describe your recovery can influence relapse.
Published on March 11, 2014 by Richard Taite in Ending Addiction for Good
The band, The Who, tell the story of a man who spends “Eleven hours in the Tin Pan” before deciding “there’s got to be another way.” And then the chorus asks the question “Who are you?” You know the song. And unfortunately, many of us know exactly what it’s like to be in the Tin Pan. We know what it’s like to look out at the world and wonder if there’s another way; we know what it’s like to look in the mirror and wonder, “Who am I?”
A study published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors shows that how you answer this question can influence your chance of staying sober. These questions we ask ourselves – Who am I? Is there another way? Where do I belong? – are more than the cliché questions of people at the bottom of the Tin Pan; the answers to these questions can be the start of a path to recovery.
The idea comes from social psychology: just as a person becomes part of a group, the group becomes part of the person. It may seem obvious, but the idea has profound consequences. For example, the Nobel-winning economist George Akerlof shows that the best businesses don’t only hire the most talented people, but then they use organizational culture to shape new identities – the identity of “employee”. And this identity makes employees act accordingly: with loyalty and commitment. Again, the individual influences the group and the group influences the individual.
The same is true in groups that allow people to feel included in a community of recovery.
The goal of the current study was to discover exactly how to leverage this idea of identity within a group to empower people in their recovery – to show the “underlying social processes that may lead to success (or failure) when individuals are in recovery from addiction.”
To answer this question, the researchers from London South Bank University explored the addiction-related identities of 61 people in Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings: how strongly did they consider themselves “addicts” and how strongly did they identify as “addicts in recovery”? Not only that, but the study asked how much differencethese people saw between the two identities.
Here’s the interesting part: In terms of relapse rates, it didn’t matter much how people saw their own identity – people who identified as “addicts” had similar relapse rates to those who saw themselves as “recovering addicts”. But there was a huge difference in relapse rates based on how muchdifference people saw between these two identities – when peoplepreferred the identity of “recovering addict” over the identity of “addict,” relapse rates were much lower. Not only that, but people who preferred the “recovering addict” identity had fewer cravings and felt they had more personal control of their addictive behaviors.
Then the researchers did it again, this time with smokers and ex-smokers, and they added the idea of social connectedness. Again they found that people who saw the identity of “ex-smoker” as far more desirable than the identity of “smoker” were less likely to crave and relapse, and more likely to feel in control of their behaviors. But this time the study was more than personal, more than limited to individual evaluations – this time, the researchers saw that the more smokers felt connected to their support community, the better was their ability to quit. Again, your emotional connection to a recovery community can help you grow the desire for and the identity of recovery inside yourself.
The researchers say it a bit differently, writing that, “These results suggest that developing a social identity as a ‘recovering addict’ or an ‘ex-smoker’ and subsequently highlighting the difference between such identities may be a useful strategy for reducing relapse amongst people with problems associated with addictive behaviors.”
Like the song, once you’ve had enough hours in the Tin Pan and you finally start asking the heart-wrenching and potentially life-changing question Who am I? know that your answer matters. Are you a recovering addict or are you still an addict? How extreme do you consider the difference between the two? And then how deeply can you connect with a community that helps you grow a new identity, be it 12-step or any community of concerned and compassionate people who share your experience? With belief and connection, the authors write that, “Group membership can introduce a new social identity associated with recovery.”
Richard Taite is founder and CEO of Cliffside Malibu, offering evidence-based, individualized addiction treatment based on the Stages of Change model. He is also coauthor with Constance Scharff of the book Ending Addiction for Good.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) recently released Standards of Care: For the Addiction Specialist Physician. TheStandards outline the responsibilities of addiction medicine specialists in the areas of assessment and diagnosis, withdrawal management, treatment planning, treatment management, care transitions and care coordination, and continuing care management. There is one sentence in the Standards that deserves particular acknowledgement: "Recovery check-ups by addiction specialist physicians, just as those by primary care physicians or other providers, may promote sustained recovery and prevent relapse" (p. 13).
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“If you want to start running each morning, it’s essential that you choose a simple cue (like always lacing up your sneakers before breakfast or leaving your running clothes next to your bed) and a clear reward (such as a midday treat, a sense of accomplishment from recording your miles, or the endorphin rush you get from a jog). But countless studies have shown that a cue and a reward, on their own, aren’t enough for a new habit to last. Only when your brain starts expecting the reward—craving the endorphins or sense of accomplishment—will it become automatic to lace up your jogging shoes each morning. The cue, in addition to triggering a routine, must also trigger a craving for the reward to come.” ~ Charles Duhigg from The Power of Habit
Back to the three components of habits: Cue + Routine + Reward. Now let’s add a craving for the reward that’s tied to the cue.
Want to exercise every morning?
Give yourself a cue by leaving your workout clothes next to the bed (that’s what I do! :) and give yourself a clear reward (mine: the great post work-out buzz mixed with knowing I’m doing what’s best for me!).
We want to get to a point where that cue gets you craving the reward.
Get there and voilà!
You’re rockin’ it.
1. Drink a glass of water when you wake up. Your body loses water while you sleep, so you’re naturally dehydrated in the morning. A glass of water when you wake helps start your day fresh. When do you drink your first glass of water each day?
2. Define your top 3. Every morning asks yourself, “What are the top three most important tasks that I will complete today?” He prioritizes his day accordingly and doesn’t sleep until the Top 3 are complete. What’s your "Top 3" today?
3. The 50/10 Rule. Solo-task and do more faster by working in 50/10 increments. Use a timer to work for 50 minutes on only one important task with 10 minute breaks in between. Spend 10 minutes getting away from your desk, going outside, calling friends, meditating, or grabbing a glass of water. What’s your most important task for the next 50 minutes?
4. Move and sweat daily. Regular movement keeps us healthy and alert. It boosts energy and mood, and relieves stress. Try CrossFit or a yoga class. How will you sweat today?
5. Express gratitude. Gratitude fosters happiness, which is why it's wise to keep a gratitude journal. Every morning, write out at least five things you're thankful for. In times of stress, pause and reflect on 10 things you're grateful for. What are you grateful for today?
6. Reflect daily. Bring closure to your day through 10 minutes of reflection. Ask yourself, “What went well?” and “What needs improvement?” So... what went well today? How can you do more of it?
By Amber Rae
for more by Amber check this link: http://www.fastcompany.com/user/amber-rae
Could mindfulness be an effective treatment for opiate abuse and addiction?
Opioid abuse is a widespread problem. Due to the drugs’ effectiveness in relieving pain, large swathes of the population receive a prescription for opiates at one time or another.
Nearly one third of Americans suffer from chronic pain. Vicodin, oxycodone, morphine, codeine, and Hydrocodone products are the most commonly prescribed for a variety of painful conditions.
Regrettably, physical dependence or addiction can develop when opioids are used regularly or long term. Abuse can lead to severe respiratory depression and death.
Standard treatment approaches for opioid addiction are based on research about treating heroin addiction. Medications, such as Naltrexone, methadone and Buprenorphine are common treatments for opiate addiction, but all three treatment medications are addictive to varying degrees, or carry some side effects. Therefore, researchers have been testing another treatment for opioid addiction: mindfulness.
Mind Your TreatmentResearchers at the University of Utah, led by Eric Garland, found that mindfulness treatment brought about a 63 percent reduction in opioid misuse. At the same time, conventional support groups delivered only a 32 percent reduction in misuse. He and his colleagues reported their findings in the February 2014 issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.
The new treatment, called MORE (Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement), teaches participants novel responses to stress, pain, and cues to take more opioids. There are three components to the method: mindfulness training, reappraisal and savoring.
Mindfulness, a concept that stems from Eastern religions, is about training one’s mind to pay attention to cues and regulate automatic habits. Reappraisal refers to reframing, or viewing a stressful event from a positive, growth-promoting perspective. Savoring means learning to attend to positive events in an effort to expand sensitivity toward experiences that are naturally rewarding, such as relationships. The results show that MORE increased their awareness of opioid cravings, and helped them to determine the difference between cravings and a legitimate need for pain relief.
Drug Abuse: Pay Attention to Avoid CravingsGarland’s study builds on the findings of Katie Witkiewitz, a researcher at the University of New Mexico. In a 2013 study, she and her colleagues also studied the effects of mindfulness on craving, which is the subjective experience of an urge to use substances. Not surprisingly, craving is a significant predictor of substance use, abuse and relapse.
Witkiewitz and her colleagues were following up on a 2009 study led by Sarah Bowen, PhD. Bowen and her colleagues were the first to study the effect of MBRP (mindfulness-based relapse prevention) on cravings. For the study, 168 adults with substance use disorders who had recently completed drug treatment participated in an 8 week outpatient MBRP program.
The participants reported reduced cravings, increases in acceptance and greater acting with awareness, both immediately after treatment and four months after treatment had ended.
Wikiewitz and her colleagues sought to understand how mindfulness reduces cravings for drugs. They learned that when participant in MBRP reported increased self-acceptance, awareness of situations, and non-judgment, they reported lower levels of craving following their treatment. In other words, key components of mindfulness helped reduce their cravings for substances. On the basis of this study, treatment professionals could incorporate these aspects of mindfulness into the treatment of opioid users. They can be taught to notice their triggers and cravings, and to foster a nonjudgmental, kind approach toward themselves and their experiences.
Avoiding Opioid Addiction: Is Mindfulness Superior?Is mindfulness the answer to opioid addiction? Or are the standard treatments preferable? The answer is probably both, depending upon the individual receiving the treatment. There are many treatment methods, some of which seem more appropriate for the needs and goals of any given person. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, for example, takes a stepped care approach to substance abuse. The first principle of stepped care is that treatment should be individualized with regard to the client’s needs and problems. Fortunately, many researchers are concerned with the issue of substance abuse. Novel treatment methods, such as mindfulness, will certainly be better suited to some people more than to others.
VHA Directive. Pain Management. (2009). Accessed on March 02, 2014
NIH. DrugFacts: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction. (2009). Accessed on March 02, 2014
Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention. Accessed on March 02, 2014
Garland, Eric, et al. Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement for Chronic Pain and Prescription Opioid Misuse: Results From an Early-Stage Randomized Controlled Trial.. (2014). Hournal of Consing and Clinical Psychology. Accessed on March 02, 2014
Witkiewitz, Katie, et al. Mindfulness-based relapse prevention for substance craving.. (2013). Journal of Addictive Behaviors. Accessed on March 02, 2014
Bowen, Sarah. Mindfulness-based relapse prevention for substance use disorders: a pilot efficacy trial. (2009). Substance Abuse. Accessed on March 02, 2014
© Copyright 2014 Gilan Gertz, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decoded Science
"We human beings have very little comprehension of what we are. The difficulty is not that we are ignorant. It's that we are self-deceiving. We systematically keep ourselves from understanding ourselves."
by C. Terry Warner
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In recent years, there have been growing calls to shift the organizing center of the addiction and mental health fields from pathology and intervention paradigms to a recovery paradigm and to begin this evolution with a recovery-focused research agenda. One of the pioneers who has most influenced this interest in resilience and recovery is Dr. Stephanie Brown. I consider her developmental models of personal and family recovery as among the most important in the modern era of addiction treatment. The implications of some research are so profound and far-reaching that it takes decades to fully appreciate their import. I think we as a professional field will be mining the implications of Stephanie Brown’s work for decades to come. In this very personal interview conducted in late 2010, Dr. Brown talks about her life, her work, and her legacy.
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Personal success or failure at rehab hinges on attitude and accountability. A report from Canada.
I went to rehab with a notebook. I was there, I told myself, because I was doing research for a book about a woman who’s an addict and who had to go to rehab because her relapse was affecting her family life—specifically her ability to parent an infant. The program was a three-week deal and it was a two-hour drive from my home in Toronto, Ontario. My husband drove me there, grimly, as if I wasn’t really going for research but rather because I needed help.
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Timothy Harrington is passionate about sharing information with people on ways to strengthen the link between treatment and long-term recovery.