Are Mindfulness-Based Interventions Effective for Substance Use Disorders?

Mindfulness-based interventions have received much attention in clinical research of late, which has generally supported its benefits for people suffering from mental health and addiction. The primary aim of mindfulness training is to help the individual focus on the experience without judging based on emotional reaction. Despite initial research that, as a personality trait, mindfulness predicts a lower level of substance abuse. We know significantly less about its potential role as a teachable skill within the context of substance use disorder treatment.   

Mindfulness-based interventions promote practice as an essential part of good mental and physical health. Mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy are some of the mindfulness-based interventions used in treatment. The mindfulness-based interventions designed to intentionally focus an individual’s attention on the present experience in a way that is non-judge mental. Whether the practice is offering individually or in a group, it also provides benefits for people looking for Therapy for mental and addiction concerns.

What is Mindfulness? 

There is no specific definition of the term ‘mindfulness. The word has proven challenging to define because of differences in beliefs about what exactly mindfulness is differing opinions on how to attain mindfulness, varied views about the aim of mindfulness, and the challenge of describing the concept using medical and psychological terms. 

Mindfulness is the state in which one becomes more aware of one’s physical, mental, and emotional condition in the present situation. A person can experience many different things. Things like body sensations, cognition, and feelings, accepting them without being influenced. Mindfulness practices help individuals control their thoughts. 

Additionally, with the increasing popularity of mindfulness in the physical and mental approaches, the practice has been utilized in several other areas.

Mindfulness-Based Techniques Used In Therapy:

 Mindfulness-based approaches are done through mindfulness meditation. However, through various techniques, one can achieve mindfulness. During mindfulness meditation, the practitioner will guide the person to direct the focus on the present moment. The individual has trained to zone out in a specific phenomenon. A person becomes aware that their thoughts are sailing away from the present. They are encouraging to notice where they are and what they are doing before bringing their attention to the present moment. 

However, many types of mindfulness-based meditation have been training in and out of analytic settings. Mindfulness meditation is a well-known technique to achieve mindfulness. It can even be gained without meditation. Once the awareness of mindfulness practices has developed, those in treatment get encouragement to integrate mindfulness in to their daily lives. Mindfulness can be crucial during emotionally overwhelming experiences, as the course can often help individuals maintain a sense of control.

Gentle yoga movements like sitting, walking, or mountain meditations have been mindfulness techniques to heighten awareness of physical sensations. 

How Can Mindfulness-Based Interventions Help?

Mindfulness has been included in other therapeutic models as a part of an integrated approach to treatment. Even little negative thoughts can grow and or spiral out of control, leading to concerns such as mental health.

These professionals have come to realize. However, mindfulness can be a great benefit as it can enable people to be better able to separate themselves from negative thoughts, emotions, and sensations. 

Those who can achieve this state of awareness may find it easier to implement other therapeutic strategies to address potential harmful cognition to prevent adverse effects. Regular mindfulness practice has been known to help different psychological visions and emotional healing over time. 

Mindfulness-based interventions generally aim to relieve mental health concerns and treat addiction symptoms of substance use disorder.

  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction can help people address stress, chronic pain, cancer, anxiety, depression, and other severe issues. 
  • MBCT (mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy) treats depression, anxiety, eating problems, bipolar issues, ADHD, and post-traumatic stress. 
  • DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) can help treat suicidal ideation, borderline personality, self-harm, substance dependency, eating issues, and depression.
  • ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy) can help to treat anxiety, depression, chronic pain, psychosis, and substance dependency. 

How Are They Effective For Substance Use Disorder? 

When a person focuses more on neutral internal experiences rather than external ones, he or she with substance use disorder can be able to increase acceptance of past negative actions.

Mindfulness could also aid a person with substance use disorder in many ways. It can help to avoid cravings and other feelings without using substances. This results in weakening the link between negative emotions and substance use. 

To test the benefits of mindfulness training. A study compared mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP) with standard relapse prevention (RP) and treatment as usual (TAU) among 286 participants.

Starting from a continuing treatment program following participation in either a 30-day residential or 90-day intensive outpatient program. You can also find residential treatment in Illinois.

  • The MBRP included weekly 2 hour sessions with 6 to 10 participants and two therapists. Depending on other mindfulness models, the therapists themselves had ongoing meditation practices. Each session had a specific topic which included 20-30 minutes of guided meditation. 
  • The standard relapse prevention intervention was similar in length, format, size, and location. The RP groups’ objectives include addressing high-risk situations, behavioral coping, problem-solving skills, and increasing self-efficacy. 
  • The treatment was the program’s standard continuing care model, an abstinence-focused, 12-step approach; groups met 1 to 2 times per week for 1 to 5 hours. 

All the participants received treatment as usual. Mindfulness-based relapse prevention and standard relapse prevention have been pulling from treatment as representative groups during the eight weeks they received one of the two particular interventions. Patients had tracked up at 3, 6, and 12 months after baseline.

Emily Blunt

About The Author

Emily is a health & lifestyle blogger who spends her entire day writing quality blogs. Also, she is a passionate reader and loves to share quality content prevalent on the web with her followers. To know more about her, visit

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