Can Meditation Help Addiction?

Anxiety disorders affect 275 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In the United States, the American Anxiety and Depression Association (ADAA) reports that anxiety disorders and addictions can develop independently of each other, or one can lead to another. In addition, the links between anxiety disorders and addiction mean that one illness can affect the other. For example, alcohol addiction may worsen anxiety symptoms in some patients and vice versa.

Treatment for anxiety and addiction depends on a person's unique circumstances. A treatment plan may include medications and therapies, such as cognitive based therapy (CBT). Meditation can also be added to a treatment plan. From an evolutionary perspective, emotions such as fear have benefited humans and allowed them to survive.

For example, the fear that arises when seeing a bear on a hiking trail can cause people to take quick steps to protect themselves. This type of anxiety, which helps us stay alert and aware, differs from having a clinical anxiety disorder. For people who are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, the physical expression of emotions such as anxiety, worry, and fear may be out of proportion to reality. A person with anxiety can also take extreme and unhealthy steps to reduce their symptoms. For example, a person with a type of anxiety known as social anxiety disorder can frame their life to avoid any situation where they have to interact with people. Anxiety symptoms often begin during childhood or adolescence and continue into adulthood.

Common symptoms of an anxiety disorder include an incessant sense of impending danger or doom, panic attacks, increased heart rate, tremors, hyperventilation, and gastrointestinal problems. People with an anxiety disorder may also have difficulty with concentration, memory, or may become easily irritated. However, symptoms may vary depending on the disease. Examples of anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and phobias, among others. This type of anxiety is characterized by excessive fear.

People with GAD can respond and behave negatively, emotionally and physically in the face of an imaginary, real, or future threat. OCD is characterized by worries about cleanliness or intrusive thoughts related to cleaning or germs. An environment considered impure for a person with OCD can trigger a panic attack. To reduce their anxiety, they engage in compulsive behaviors such as excessive hand washing. Traumatic disorders include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

This mental disorder can be experienced by members of the military returning from a period of service in a war. Trauma can also be caused by unexpected events such as the death of a loved one, a car accident or a violent act. People with this disorder experience high levels of anxiety in social situations. Your fear may include feeling embarrassed or being judged by others.

A person with social anxiety disorder may feel too self-conscious about their appearance. To minimize their anxiety, they often take drastic measures to avoid social interactions. Anxiety disorders can affect people who have a genetic disposition to the disorder or to underlying medical conditions. Anxiety-related medical problems can include heart disease and diabetes. In the article “Is Anxiety Genetic?” Healthline reports that the RBFOX1 gene could increase a person's chances of developing an anxiety disorder. The environment can also be a factor.

For example, a person's environment such as living in a violent home or suffering trauma in a specific location can become a cause of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety often occurs along with other mental health disorders such as substance abuse and depression. People with anxiety struggle with thoughts in their minds that have to do with the past or the future. Sometimes these thoughts are accelerated and negative in nature preventing people from focusing and feeling at ease. Mindfulness meditation is a mental training practice that helps patients slow down their thoughts calm their minds and bodies and focus on the present.

A teacher or guide guides this meditation method. In face-to-face settings a teacher offers a guided meditation with instructions on how to breathe. The teacher can describe images in a relaxed voice that can make a person feel as if they were actively in the place described. Guided meditation can also be done through audio video or mobile applications.

People who practice this meditation method visualize objects places or situations that cause feelings of relaxation. Research shows links between addiction and anxiety disorder. The disorders can occur along with other mental health disorders such as depression. In a study on the cognitive function of patients with substance use disorder published by the journal Drug and Alcohol Review people addicted to substances such as drugs and alcohol are more likely to have cognitive deficiencies.

The study found that evaluating patients in the early stages of treatment is critical to optimizing treatment outcomes. Addiction can cause problems controlling body functions and people with this disorder can become violent. They often have social problems and are predisposed to risky behaviors. Mindfulness training is a promising intervention option for substance use disorder (SUD) and relapse prevention according to research published in Mindfulness.

Mindfulness can be conceptualized as a state trait and practice according to research published in Mindfulness. The state of mindfulness is cultivated during the practice of mindfulness and is characterized by unbiased non-reactive care focused on the present moment and metacognitive awareness of cognition emotion sensation and perception. Family therapy sessions are conducted by trained professionals such as psychologists psychiatrists social workers counselors marriage family therapists nurses or other mental health professionals according to Mental Health America (MHA). Family therapy sessions help individuals understand how family dynamics contribute to addiction behaviors while providing support for recovery.