In a new study, researchers found being mindful is key to recovering from substance addiction, such as opioid abuse and alcohol abuse.
The findings suggest people who suffer from addiction may try activities that increase mindfulness.
The team also found that mindfulness could fight against trauma.
The research was conducted by researchers from the University of Southern California.
Mindfulness is the mental state of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment.
People can develop mindfulness through the practice of meditation and other training.
Previous research has shown that mindfulness practice can help reduce symptoms of depression, stress, and anxiety.
Neuroscience research has shown that mindfulness practice could change structures in the brain, including areas associated with self-awareness and coping with emotion.
Mindfulness can also help with healthy aging, healthy pregnancy, weight management, and athletic performance.
In the study, the team focuses on how mindfulness could help fight addiction.
Their study found that completing just eight weeks of mindfulness training could cause decreases in stress and cravings. The participants stayed in clean even six months later.
The team suggests that mindfulness may improve consciousness, enhance concentration and help people realize their thoughts, feelings and physical sensations.
One aspect of mindfulness is attentional awareness.
People focus on feelings and thoughts in the present moment and accepting them without judgment.
The researchers suggest that recognizing urges like drug cravings can help people develop new coping strategies instead of repeating harmful behaviors.
They also noted that mindfulness should complement other techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy to fight addiction.
They believe their finding may contribute to the next major breakthrough in the treatment of substance use and major mental health issues.
One author of the study is Jordan Davis, an assistant professor at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.
The study is published in Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.
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