What Are the Benefits of a Mindfulness Retreat in Substance Abuse Treatment?
Mindfulness may not sound like genuine therapy, but it has been well studied, and researchers have found that it provides many benefits for both mental and physical health.
Better Brain Health
You don’t have to be experienced with meditation or to practice it for many years to enjoy the benefits. One study found that even people who were brand-new to meditation experienced positive changes in brain structure and had lower depression scores compared to those who did not meditate.
The extended practice of mindfulness can offer even more benefits. Researchers found that long-term meditators experience improved mood regulation and lower rates of brain tissue loss.
Better Mental Health
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that people with substance use disorders are at a higher risk for having co-occurring disorders such as depression and anxiety.
In some cases, mental health problems precede the substance abuse that leads to addiction. In other cases, the abuse of drugs and alcohol causes or exacerbates a mental illness.
Skills learned during a mindfulness retreat can help reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Research on a technique known as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) found it was effective in reducing perceived stress and increasing overall feelings of well-being.
Mindfulness practices are an effective complement to traditional anxiety treatments, but they are also beneficial on their own. A study published in the journal Behaviour Research and Therapy found that regular mindfulness practice can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety even when used as a stand-alone therapy.
Better Physical Health
The abuse of drugs and alcohol can take a toll on a person’s physical health. Everyone’s experience is unique, and many factors are involved in how addiction impacts health. However, the National Institutes of Health reported that people with addiction are at higher risk for developing:
- Heart disease
- Dental diseases
- Hepatitis C
Addiction disorders can also weaken the immune system, making people who use substances more vulnerable to infections and to viral and airborne diseases.
Mindfulness interventions have been shown to provide many benefits for pain and disease management. One study confirms that practicing mindfulness can:
- Reduce pain
- Reduce fatigue
- Provide relief from digestive disorders
- Improve sleep
- Strengthen the immune system
Mindfulness isn’t magic, but it is a proven method for reducing health-harming stress. Learning healthy new ways to cope with stress is crucial to long-term recovery management. It may help to repair some of the physical damage caused by drug and alcohol abuse while also improving a person’s energy levels and motivation for staying on program.
If you’re ready to experience the benefits of a mindfulness retreat firsthand, call Pacific Bay Recovery today at (619)-350-8220.