Mind/Body Approaches for Substance Abuse

June 23, 2019 Joe Brady

Licit and illicit drug use in the US continues to skyrocket. As the stress of the modern world increases people seek to escape the stress of daily life in many ways, some healthy and many times with unhealthy methods. Using drugs like alcohol, opioids and methamphetamines are contributing to a decrease in American life expectancy, while mind and body approaches for substance use disorders can be a more wholesome way to deal with stress. Recent studies have shown that Mind/Body approaches for substance abuse problems can be an effective way of dealing with withdrawal symptoms and with the underlying stress that lies at the heart of all addiction problems.

All drugs work by mimicking natural substances in the body. Opioids work by mimicking the natural pain reliever endorphins. Mescaline is almost identical to norepinephrine. Many types of mind and body therapies teach practitioners to access these natural pathways reducing the reliance on synthetic pathways.

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Mind and body approaches, such as mindfulness-based interventions, have shown some success when used along with the treatment of substance abuse and addiction. Mindfulness-based approaches, in part, attempt to decrease the impact of negative mood, which is thought to serve as a trigger for substance use. Mind and body approaches can be part of a comprehensive addiction treatment plan that includes behavioral modifications, and may include pharmaceuticals to decrease cravings, group therapy, or counseling. Follow the link to the NIH’s report on Mind/Body therapies for substance abuse.

5 Things To Know About Mind and Body Approaches for Substance Use Disorders

If you are considering mind and body approach to help with a substance abuse disorder or addiction, here are five things you should know.

  1. Mindfulness-based therapies. Studies suggest that mindfulness-based therapies may help improve health-related quality of life in people with substance use disorders, and may also help reduce cravings. For people who want to quit smoking, mindfulness training used along with conventional medicine has been shown to help maintain abstinence.   
  2. Acupuncture. There are some results from studies that suggest acupuncture, when used along with conventional medicine, may have positive effects on withdrawal/craving and anxiety symptoms in people with substance use disorders and addiction.
  3. Hypnotherapy. Findings from some studies suggest that hypnotherapy may help people quit smoking, but there is not enough evidence to show whether hypnotherapy could be as effective as counseling treatment.
  4. Yoga. Only a few studies have been conducted on the effects of yoga to help people quit smoking. Although preliminary results have been positive, larger, high-quality studies are needed to determine if yoga is an effective treatment.
  5. Take charge of your health—talk with your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Together, you can make shared, well-informed decisions.

Read more https://nccih.nih.gov/health/tips/Substance-Disorders

Also see Beneficial effects of Tai Chi for amphetamine-type stimulant dependence: a pilot study.

See https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27211290