How meditation helped me rewire my brain after 15 years of addiction Thrive Global

How meditation helped me rewire my brain after 15 years of addiction Thrive Global

In cases of withdrawal-related symptoms such an anxiety, insomnia, or depression, meditation can assist in grounding the individual and calming the nervous system. A calm nervous system enhances the overall quality of sleep, and during times of wakefulness, it enables better moods. Furthermore, those suffering emotionally imbalanced thoughts from disorders like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can learn to observe thoughts without attachment. Meditation therapy also allows someone to actively regain control over impulses.

One strength of mindfulness is that you can practice it anywhere and at any time. You don’t have to adopt a particular belief system or invest a great deal of time and energy to take advantage of this expanded awareness. You only need to be willing to try new ways of experiencing the world. Meditation is ultimately intended to ground you in the moment, and most people report feeling extremely calm afterward (and some even fall asleep during their meditative practices).

How does the brain heal after addiction?

Your goal is to observe your feelings and thoughts without engagement or judgment. Other benefits of meditation therapy include the ability to alter brainwaves, which contributes to improved psychological function and cortisol reduction. Mindfulness practice can enhance the performance of the frontal cortex, the area of the brain that regulates planning and thinking.

meditation for addiction

As numerous EEG studies show, alpha and theta brainwaves dominate during a meditative state. A 2005 study published in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse (Scott et al) looked at 121 patients going through an inpatient substance abuse program. Meditators have been happy, addiction free folks for millenia. It’s good to see hard science confirming age-old mindful wisdom. A journal can help you build clarity on your experience, providing vital hindsight of your practice and a more definite sense of how far you’ve come in your recovery journey.

Keep a Meditation Journal to Record Your Thoughts and Insights

As adaptive cognitive control is restored through mindfulness exercises, MBIs may increase functional connectivity between these top-down prefrontal networks and bottom-up limbic-striatal brain circuitry involved in reward processing and motivated behavior [22]. Increased connectivity between top-down and bottom-up brain networks implicated in addiction (e.g., frontostriatal circuitry) may provide meditation for addiction the physiological substrate through which mindfulness de-automatizes addictive behavior. Figure 1 depicts hypothesized neural functional mechanisms of MBIs for addiction. Substance use disorders (SUDs) are a pervasive public health problem with deleterious consequences for individuals, families, and society. Furthermore, SUD intervention is complicated by the continuous possibility of relapse.

The purpose of this manuscript is to review the cognitive, affective, and neural mechanisms underlying the effects of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) on SUDs. We discuss the etiology of addiction and neurocognitive processes related to the development and maintenance of SUDs. We then explore evidence supporting use of MBIs for intervening in SUDs and preventing relapse. Finally, we provide clinical recommendations about how these therapeutic mechanisms might be applied to intervening in SUDs and preventing relapse. The most prominent MBIs (i.e., MBRP, MORE, mindfulness training for smokers) for addiction were modeled after the first generation of mindfulness-based therapies like MBSR and MBCT in terms of their structure and format.

Addiction and control

In the early days following drug and alcohol addiction, sensible rational decisions were few and far between. I made a couple of poor career moves during this time that took a while to dig out of. As you place your attention here, you may notice the mind begin to wander.

  • As you continue to practice meditation, you will likely experience more deep and insightful thoughts.
  • If we don’t healthfully and naturally deal with this pain, we find ways to cope, like addiction, to feel normal again — to feel good again.

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