Meditation & Substance Abuse

April 4, 2014

A recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine sought to understand the correlation, if any, between meditation programs and mitigation of psychological stress. The study reviewed randomized clinical trials, which also accounted for the placebo effect. For clinicians in the field of addiction, this study may be helpful in determining the effectiveness and necessity of meditation as part of a treatment program.

Read the study’s abstract here: http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1809754

The study reviewed forty seven trials with 3515 participants. It concluded that meditation programs can offer some improvement in psychological stress, including anxiety and depression. Interestingly, the study did not conclude any benefit as it relates to substance use.

So, as clinicians who may currently use or consider using meditation as part of their treatment protocol, what do we take from this? Clearly, meditation has beneficial psychological effects, which cannot be ignored – even if there is no clear benefit as it relates to substance use. In the context of treatment, improvements in anxiety and other psychological stressors can go a long way to assist with treatment and relapse prevention. While meditation may not substitute for treatment or cessation, it may well supplement treatment effectively.

Please stay tuned to our blog for more information on anxiety and addictive behavior.

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