Mindfulness and addiction treatment

Over the last four decades, research on applications of meditation and mindfulness-based approaches for an array of psychological problems has grown exponentially. As part of this growth, meditation has begun to receive attention as a potentially useful treatment for individuals seeking help with addiction, and various meditation practices have been evaluated for their effectiveness (Marlatt 2003). Some of the earliest investigations of meditation as a treatment for addiction were Marlatt’s preliminary investigations in the early 1970s, evaluating transcendental meditation (TM) as a preventive intervention for high-risk drinkers (Marlatt and Marques 1977). After some promising findings, a subsequent randomized trial of TM-based meditation, in comparison with several other methods of relaxation, provided further evidence of salutary effects of meditation for heavily substance-using individuals. Results indicated that TM was associated with a strong and consistent reduction in substance use, and led to the inclusion of meditation in the Relapse Prevention Model as a potential alternative to substance use and a significant step toward a more balanced way of living (Marlatt 2003; Marlatt and Gordon 1985).

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