September is National Recovery Month

New Study Suggests Mindfulness Mediation Decreases Risk for Relapse

mindfulness meditation

A new study from the Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behaviors at the University of Washington in Seattle suggests that extended use of mindfulness meditation decreases the risk for chemical dependency relapse. In comparison to individuals who received relapse prevention therapy or regular 12-Step assistance; those who completed treatment with mindfulness meditation were less likely to relapse.

Mindfulness meditation teaches patients the techniques necessary to have more self-awareness. The use of this type of therapy allows the patient struggling with alcohol dependency to be further aware of their disease of addiction. Mindfulness meditation also shows the patient how to identify triggers that may result in relapse. The goal of this therapy is to teach patients various coping skills when they encounter stressful situations in their everyday life.

Sarah Bowen who led the research said in JAMA Psychiatry that, “11 percent of people in the United States [suffering from chemical dependency] seek treatment every year, but between 40 percent and 60 percent relapse.”

The study followed 286 patients who completed treatment at various treatment centers. Centers included programs based on either 12-Step treatment, cognitive-behavioral based relapse prevention, or a program that combined both relapse-prevention and mindfulness meditation. Researchers then followed the patients for 12 months documenting progress at the 3 month, 6 month, and one year mark. After one year researchers found that those patients that participated in the mindfulness-meditation based relapse prevention therapy treatment center outperformed the two other groups. Only nine percent in the mindfulness meditation group reported relapse at the one year mark in comparison to 14 percent in the 12-Step group and 17 percent in the traditional relapse prevention group.

The goal of therapies used at treatment centers is to prevent relapse in the future. At New Directions for Women, our programs are drenched in the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. We utilize the 12-Steps in combination with therapies like mindfulness-meditation every morning. Our follow-up studies show that 94% of patients surveyed post-discharge who reported no substance use within 30 days. The use of mindfulness meditation equips our patients with the techniques necessary to help them in their lifelong recovery. We also use other types of therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and experiential therapies to help with any trauma a patient may have been through. Through the use of Seeking Safety, experiential therapies, and mindfulness meditation, our patients have seen a larger success rate with a lowered risk for relapse. The tools that our women are equipped with are those that they use for the rest of their lives.

New Directions for Women is a treatment facility located in California that offers help to women, pregnant women, women with children and families who desire a similar result. Our caring admissions counselors are available 24/7 to take your call and answer any questions you may have on getting help. Reach us by phone at 800-93-WOMEN. We can help. Stay in the loop with New Directions for Women by connecting with us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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