woman sitting alone practicing mindfulness meditation

The Value of Mindfulness Therapies: MBSR and MBCT for Addiction Treatment

Mindfulness is essentially the art of practicing awareness. When it comes to treating addictions, such as alcohol or drug addiction, exercising mindfulness can help an addict by allowing them to pay attention to their cravings and thereby realise which emotions, thoughts, and bodily sensations create these cravings. Aside from helping to control cravings and impulses, mindfulness therapy also helps with other aspects of addiction recovery. In this article, we are going to discuss the efficacy of mindfulness-based therapies like MBSR and MBCT for addiction treatment.

Mindfulness therapy explained

A variety of underlying thoughts and emotions contribute to and develop from addiction. In terms of addiction recovery, it is beneficial to learn how to recognise and accept them instead of ignoring or suppress them, which is why mindfulness therapy can be helpful. Mindfulness therapy describes techniques that aim to help an addict reframe their thought patterns and teach them how to swap substance use with beneficial coping skills.

Another way of understanding mindfulness therapy is by thinking of it as a mental approach towards emotions, sensations and thoughts that result from an experience. It helps people to dis-identify with that particular experience. This is not to be confused with hating or doubting the experience, but simply accepting and not judging it.

The use of mindfulness therapies such as MBSR and MBCT for addiction treatment

There are many different forms of programmes and therapies that are either based on or integrate mindfulness. MBSR and MBCT for addiction treatment are two of the most popular mindfulness therapies, and rightly so. Let us look at what makes effective in treating substance abuse and preventing relapse.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

  • Develop more self-awareness
  • Respond less to stress
  • Become more compassionate towards themselves
  • Develop resilience to changes and challenges that occur in life

People often create unnecessary stress when they become attached to certain desired outcomes instead of learning to accept and let life play out the way that is done naturally. Stress can be dramatically reduced when they acknowledge that the nature of life is constant change and that nothing is permanent.

Negative behaviours, thoughts, and emotions can have a severe negative impact on a person’s mental, physical and spiritual health. Stress-related disorders are significantly affected by our mind, so practicing mindfulness through meditation can have positive benefits by balancing involuntary bodily processes, such as blood pressure and heart rate. Yoga is a form of mindfulness-based movement that helps to reduce pain and provides many benefits that are associated with physical activity.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

MBCT integrates mindfulness techniques with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) so that a person can have a better understanding of their emotions and thoughts and learn to manage them accordingly in order to relieve himself or herself of suffering. MCBT was originally created to treat recurring depression, but its benefits have made it an important tool for mental health issues and addiction recovery – especially since the two are often related, such as with dual diagnosis (or co-occurring disorders).

MBCT teaches people to use mindfulness meditation and cognitive methods to disrupt the automatic processes that tend to trigger depression, negative thought patterns, bad moods and bodily sensations, such as sluggishness or fatigue. Through MBCT, people can learn how to identify their sense of being and view themselves as independent from their moods and thoughts. This separation often liberates people from thought patterns that allow the same harmful messages to keep repeating.

Through MBCT, people become aware that even though the emotions and the self may exist concurrently, they do not have to be in the same dimension. This understanding can foster healing by teaching people that they can disarm negative moods by interjecting them with positive thoughts. In essence, MBCT aims to give people the tools that they need to fight unwanted cognitive processes as they occur so that they are equipped to deal with distress when it occurs.

Combining MBSR and MBCT for addiction treatment at The Dawn Rehab in Thailand

MBSR and MBCT for addiction treatment go hand-in-hand. MBSR helps to treat the symptoms that occur from distress whilst MBCT treats the cognitive process. When used together, these two mindfulness-based therapies help a person change their way of thinking while becoming aware of their bodily sensations.

It is recommendable to find a centre that incorporates mindfulness therapy as part of an addiction treatment programme in order to gain greater benefits than those involved in standard treatments.

The Dawn Medical Rehab and Wellness Centre provides clinically-proven treatment methods using innovative technology and mindfulness therapies such as MBSR and MBCT for addiction treatment to ensure that our clients receive the best medical rehab help available. Contact The Dawn today to find out how our affordable and effective treatment programmes can help you or someone you love overcome addiction.

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