Meditation is an incredible tool that can be used to help an individual in countless ways. The practice of meditation can help a person on many levels, physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. An individual in recovery for substance abuse or drug addiction can greatly benefit from integrating the practice of meditation into his or her daily life.
Addiction is considered to be a disease of the brain. Whatever the abused substance may be, the presence of it in one’s body for an extended period of time will result in one’s body becoming reliant upon the substance to function. A person may actually adjust the makeup of his or her brain to accommodate his or her addiction. This manifests through a shift in one’s synaptic pathways in one’s brain. Once synaptic pathways have been redirected, it can often take incredible effort to rewire them. Meditation is an excellent tool, not only to help shift one’s synaptic connections created during one’s substance abuse to healthier, sober, pathways, but in a myriad of other ways as well.
Meditation is the process by which a person can intimately learn the interworking’s of his or her own mind. Meditation helps to teach a person about the various synaptic pathways that have been created in one’s brain. It also creates new, healthy, pathways within one’s brain. Through the practice of meditation, a person can gain insights into the ways in which his or her mind processes information, emotions, and even formulates thought.
There is a relaxation response that one’s body and mind experience from meditating. The treatment process for substance abuse and addiction can be overwhelming, exhausting, and often requires a significant amount of mental, physical, and emotional energy. For individuals who struggle with substance abuse or addiction, experiencing any amount of relaxation, that does not come from the abuse of drugs or alcohol, can provide an enormous sense of hope and relief.
Physiologically, participating in a regular practice of meditation can result in an individual lowering his or her blood pressure, can help to improve one’s heart rate, and can even help to improve one’s breathing. More specifically, it had been asserted in one study, that individuals who regularly practiced meditation throughout the study lowered the thickness of their arterial walls. This finding implies that these individuals have a lower risk of heart attack and stroke. Meditation has also been said to help improve one’s brain waves. A shift of this kind, without the reliance upon drugs or alcohol, can be incredible for an individual in substance abuse recovery.
One of the primary reasons people turn to meditation is to experience some sort of calmness and inner relaxation. Meditation is innately intended to be a calming tool. There have been studies that link the tranquility effects of meditation to a clear reduction in one’s stress levels. Furthermore, it has been noted that lowering one’s stress levels can positively affect one’s immune system. The natural boosting of one’s immune system is an outstanding benefit for individual struggling with substance abuse or addiction. Many people who have abused drugs or alcohol, for any length of time, has possibly caused serious damage to his or her body. Alcohol, for example, is known to weaken one’s immune system, as do many other drugs. Individuals with weakened immune systems are more prone to disease and infection, with a lowered ability to fight them off. Knowing a method to boost one’s immune system, especially after a having had a length of time where it had possibly been deteriorated, is fantastic.
Meditation is not meant to be used as a sole treatment method for individuals who suffer from substance abuse or addiction. Some treatment centers will offer meditation sessions as a part of their recovery program. Alternatively, many yoga studios will offer some kind of meditation class or can provide access to a meditation guide, if an individual is interested in learning more about the meditation process. Meditation paired with other treatment methods can be beneficial for people who are in recovery for substance abuse or addiction.
Any person experiencing problems with substance abuse or addiction should get help as soon as possible. The amount of damage, physically, mentally, and emotionally that can occur due to one’s substance abuse can be extraordinarily damaging. There are a number of locations a person should feel free to reach out (drug addiction hotlines, doctor’s offices, hospitals…etc.) to if one finds themselves in need of further information on substance abuse or addiction.