Mindfulness and Treatment of Addiction

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According to the Center on Addiction, one in seven people struggle with a substance-abuse problem. Addiction plagues many individuals from all backgrounds, and is often difficult to treat. But there is hope! Studies show that self-awareness, recognition of emotion, and open-minded consciousness can help struggling individuals develop the capacity to overcome addiction. Mindfulness practices such as meditation, yoga, visualization, and recognition of physical sensations can help to regulate the body and bring awareness into the present moment. These tools can curb urges and bring greater awareness to the core causes of addictive behavior. Once an individual is able to identify their triggers, they can acquire the skills needed to overcome addiction. Mindfulness-based treatment for addiction also helps individuals build “mind-strength,” a term coined by Sara Lazar, a leading researcher in the field of mindfulness-based practice. Mind-strength helps to enhance concentration, decrease stress, and boost emotional regulation. All of these skills can help to reduce suffering and improve overall psychic and even physical health. Mindfulness-based therapeutic intervention for addiction can help individuals to combat addiction symptoms while honing skills that will improve their day-to-day living.