Reduce Use and Improve the Mental Health of Adults with Stimulant Addiction with Mindfulness

Reduce Use and Improve the Mental Health of Adults with Stimulant Addiction with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“When stimulant users attempt to quit, some of the most frequent complaints have to do with intolerable feelings of depression, sadness, and anxiety, conditions that often lead people to drop out of treatment early. Mindfulness practice not only helps them to manage cravings and urges, but also enables them to better cope with the psychological discomfort that can precipitate a relapse.” – Suzette Glasner

 

Substance abuse is a major health and social problem. There are estimated 22.2 million people in the U.S. with substance dependence. It is estimated that worldwide there are nearly ¼ million deaths yearly as a result of illicit drug use which includes unintentional overdoses, suicides, HIV and AIDS, and trauma. Obviously, there is a need to find effective methods to prevent and treat substance abuse. There are a number of programs that are successful at stopping the drug abuse, including the classic 12-step program emblematic of Alcoholics Anonymous. Unfortunately, the majority of drug and/or alcohol abusers relapse and return to substance abuse. Hence, it is important to find an effective method to treat substance abuse and prevent relapse.

 

Mindfulness practices have been shown to improve recovery from various addictions. Mindfulness-based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) has been developed to specifically assist in relapse prevention and has been shown to be effective. “MBRP integrates mindfulness practices with cognitive-behavioral Relapse Prevention therapy and aims to help participants increase awareness and acceptance of difficult thoughts, feelings, and sensations to create changes in patterns of reactive behavior that commonly lead to relapse. Mindfulness training in MBRP provides clients with a new way of processing situational cues and monitoring internal reactions to contingencies, and this awareness supports proactive behavioral choices in the face of high-risk relapse situation.” – Grow et al. 2015

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention for Stimulant Dependent Adults: A Pilot Randomized Clinical Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5300086/ ), Glasner-Edwards and colleagues recruited stimulant (cocaine or amphetamine) dependent adults. All participants participated in a contingency management program which involved receiving rewards for drug clean urine samples. Participants were randomly assigned to receive an 8-week program of Mindfulness-based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) or health education. They were measured before and after treatment and 1 month later for stimulant use (urine test), stimulant dependence, anxiety disorders, depression, emotion regulation, thought suppression, and mindfulness.

 

They found that the (MBRP) program resulted in significantly lower levels of severity of psychiatric disorders, depression and anxiety at follow-up than those in the health education condition. In addition, for two psychiatric subgroups, participants with major depressive disorder or anxiety disorder, participation in the (MBRP) program resulted in significantly lower use of stimulants than those in the health education condition.

 

These are exciting results that suggest that participation in a Mindfulness-based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) can significantly improve psychiatric symptoms and mood in stimulant dependent individuals and reduce stimulant use participants who suffered from major depression or anxiety disorder. Drug abuse is difficult to treat and even when successful relapse is likely. So, programs like (MBRP) that can be of assistance in reducing the abuse and the mental health of the abusers may be very valuable. This program was far from a cure and much more research and development is needed.

 

So, reduce use and improve the mental health of adults with stimulant addiction with mindfulness.

 

“Incorporating mindfulness into cognitive-behavioral therapy may prove to be helpful for people looking to manage their drug addictions more successfully. . . it could be especially helpful for reducing stimulant relapse rates in people with anxiety and depression.” – Two Dreams

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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Study Summary

 

Glasner-Edwards, S., Mooney, L. J., Ang, A., Garneau, H. C., Hartwell, E., Brecht, M.-L., & Rawson, R. A. (2017). Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention for Stimulant Dependent Adults: A Pilot Randomized Clinical Trial. Mindfulness, 8(1), 126–135. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-016-0586-9

 

Abstract

In light of the known associations between stress, negative affect, and relapse, mindfulness strategies hold promise as a means of reducing relapse susceptibility. In a pilot randomized clinical trial, we evaluated the effects of Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP), relative to a health education control condition (HE) among stimulant dependent adults receiving contingency management. All participants received a 12-week contingency management (CM) intervention. Following a 4-week CM-only lead in phase, participants were randomly assigned to concurrently receive MBRP (n=31) or HE (n=32). Stimulant dependent adults age 18 and over. A university based clinical research center. The primary outcomes were stimulant use, measured by urine drug screens weekly during the intervention and at 1-month post-treatment, negative affect, measured by the Beck Depression Inventory and Beck Anxiety Inventory, and psychiatric severity, measured by the Addiction Severity Index. Medium effect sizes favoring MBRP were observed for negative affect and overall psychiatric severity outcomes. Depression severity changed differentially over time as a function of group, with MBRP participants reporting greater reductions through follow-up (p=0.03; Effect Size=0.58). Likewise, the MBRP group evidenced greater declines in psychiatric severity, (p=0.01; Effect Size=0.61 at follow-up). Among those with depressive and anxiety disorders, MBRP was associated with lower odds of stimulant use relative to the control condition (Odds Ratio= 0.78, p=0.03 and OR=0.68, p=0.04). MBRP effectively reduces negative affect and psychiatric impairment, and is particularly effective in reducing stimulant use among stimulant dependent adults with mood and anxiety disorders.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5300086/

 

Reduce Substance Abuse with Yoga

Reduce Substance Abuse with Yoga

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“When people take substances, they’re seeking a certain experience, whether it’s escapist or transcendental or just wanting a different psychological state, to get away from whatever is making them unhappy. Yoga is an alternative, a positive way to generate a change in consciousness that, instead of providing an escape, empowers people with the ability to access a peaceful, restorative inner state that integrates mind, body, and spirit.” – Sat Bir Khalsa

 

Substance abuse is a major health and social problem. There are estimated 22.2 million people in the U.S. with substance dependence. It is estimated that worldwide there are nearly ¼ million deaths yearly as a result of illicit drug use which includes unintentional overdoses, suicides, HIV and AIDS, and trauma. In the U.S. about 17 million people abuse alcohol. Drunk driving fatalities accounted for over 10,000 deaths annually. “Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Cigarette smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans each year, with more than 41,000 of these deaths from exposure to secondhand smoke. In addition, smoking-related illness in the United States costs more than $300 billion a year. In 2013, an estimated 17.8% (42.1 million) U.S. adults were current cigarette smokers.”  (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

 

Obviously, there is a need to find effective methods to prevent and treat substance abuse. There are a number of programs that are successful at stopping the drug abuse, including the classic 12-step program emblematic of Alcoholics Anonymous. Unfortunately, the majority of drug and/or alcohol abusers relapse and return to substance abuse. Hence, it is important to find an effective method to both treat substance abuse disorders and to prevent relapses. Mindfulness practices have been shown to improve recovery from various addictions. Yoga is a mindfulness practice that has documented benefits for the individual’s psychological and physical health and well-being. There has been a paucity of studies, however, on the use of yoga practice to treat substance abuse.

 

In today’s Research News article “Role of Yoga in Management of Substance-use Disorders: A Narrative Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5812135/ ), Kuppili and colleagues review and summarize the published research literature on the application of yoga practice for the treatment of substance abuse. They found 16 studies, 12 of which were randomized controlled trials.

 

There were 9 studies of yoga practice as a treatment for nicotine (smoking) addiction. These studies reported that yoga practice increased the desire to quit smoking, reduced cravings for cigarettes, and assisted in quitting. There were, however, mixed findings on the duration of these effects. There were 3 studies of yoga practice as a treatment for alcohol use disorders. These studies reported that yoga practice was helpful in reducing alcohol intake and depression. There were 3 studies of yoga practice as a treatment for opioid use disorders. These studies reported that yoga practice for patients undergoing treatment improved mood states and quality of life. There was only 1 study of yoga practice as a treatment for cocaine use disorder and reported improvements in perceived stress and quality of life.

 

The studies reviewed suggest that yoga practice may be of use in the treatment of substance use disorders particularly in improving the psychological state of patients under treatment and perhaps reducing cravings. There is obviously, though, a need for more studies with larger samples and with long-term follow-up. Yoga practice does not appear to a magical cure for substance abuse but may be helpful to the patient in kicking the habit. Clearly yoga practice has substantial psychological and physical benefits for practitioners and these in combination with its helpfulness for the treatment of substance abuse make it a reasonable choice for improving he well-being of patients with these disorders.

 

“Yoga is a complementary, or adjunct, health practice that is often considered a natural form of medicine. Adjunct means “in addition to,” and not “in place of.” Yoga is often beneficial when used in tandem with other traditional substance abuse treatment methods.” – American Addiction Centers

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Pooja Patnaik Kuppili, Arpit Parmar, Ankit Gupta, Yatan Pal Singh Balhara. Role of Yoga in Management of Substance-use Disorders: A Narrative Review. J Neurosci Rural Pract. 2018 Jan-Mar; 9(1): 117–122. doi: 10.4103/jnrp.jnrp_243_17

 

Abstract

Substance use disorders are comparable to chronic medical illnesses and have a chronic relapsing course. Despite being significant contributors to morbidity and mortality, limited treatment options exist. The current narrative review was aimed at providing an overview of yoga therapy in substance-use disorders and discuss the relevant methodological issues. Articles published in English language till May 2017 indexed with PubMed, PubMed central, and Google Scholar were searched using search terms “Yoga,” “Substance use,” “Drug dependence,” “Nicotine,” “Tobacco,” “Alcohol,” “Opioids,” “Cannabis,” “Cocaine,” “Stimulants,” “Sedative hypnotics,” “Inhalants,” and “Hallucinogens” for inclusion in the review. A total of 314 studies were found fulfilling the stated criteria. Out of which, 16 studies were found to fulfill the inclusion and exclusion criteria and 12 were randomized control trials. The majority of studies were available on the role of yoga in management of nicotine dependence. Sample size of these studies ranged from 18 to 624. The majority of studies suggested the role of yoga in reducing substance use as well as substance-related craving (especially in nicotine-use disorders) in short term. However, more studies are required for demonstrating the long-term effects of yoga therapy in substance-use disorder.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5812135/

 

Help Control Eating Disorders in Men with Mindfulness

Help Control Eating Disorders in Men with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“The practice of mindful eating can help a person create greater awareness of thoughts, emotions, feeling, and behaviors. While eating disorders effectively numb emotions, practicing mindfulness can help a person reflect on what they are feeling or experiencing prior to a binge.” – Jacquelyn Ekern

 

Around 30 million people in the United States of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder; either anorexia nervosa, bulimia, or binge eating disorder. Eating disorders are not just troubling psychological problems, they can be deadly, having the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Anorexia Nervosa is particular troubling as it is often fatal as sufferers literally starve themselves to death. It occurs in about 1% to 4% of women in the U.S.  Indeed, the mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate associated with all causes of death for females 15-24 years old.

 

Disordered eating is difficult to deal with in part because it is frequently paired with other disorders. In fact, around 50% of people with eating disorders also have a substance use disorder and 50% meet the criteria for clinical depression. Eating disorders are also frequently accompanied by anxiety and body image disturbance. Eating disorders are difficult to treat because eating is necessary and cannot be simply stopped as in smoking cessation or abstaining from drugs or alcohol. One must learn to eat appropriately not stop. So, it is important to find methods that can help prevent and treat eating disorders. Contemplative practices, mindfulness, and mindful eating have shown promise for treating eating disorders.

 

Most of the research, however, involves women, but eating disorders are also present in men. Hence, there is a need to study the effectiveness of mindfulness on eating disorders in men. In today’s Research News article “A preliminary investigation of the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and eating disorder symptoms among men in residential substance use treatment.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5659606/ ), Elmquist and colleagues study the relationship of mindfulness to eating disorders in men who also suffer from a substance use disorder. They recruited men who were being treated in a 12-step based residential treatment program for substance use. They were measured for substance use, eating disorder symptoms, and mindfulness.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness in these men, the lower the levels of both substance use and eating disorder symptoms. Further, they found that the negative relationship of mindfulness with eating disorder symptoms was present even when the levels of substance use were controlled. So, mindfulness was negatively associated with lower eating disorder symptoms, regardless of substance use.

 

This study was correlational and mindfulness was not manipulated. So, causation cannot be concluded. But mindfulness training has been found to be effective in treating eating disorders in women. So, it is reasonable to conclude that this would also be true for men. Further, these results suggest that since mindfulness training is effective for treating eating disorders and also substance use disorders, that mindfulness training would be particularly effective for people with comorbidity of the two disorders.

 

So, help control eating disorders in men with mindfulness.

 

“Practicing mindfulness techniques has proven to be extremely helpful in aiding individuals to understand the driving forces behind their eating disorder. Studies have shown that “students receiving mindfulness demonstrated significant reductions in weight and shape concern, dietary restraint, thin-ideal internalization, eating disorder symptoms, and psychosocial impairment” . . . In a world that is constantly clouded with distractions, cultivating mindfulness can help suffering individuals become comfortable in their own skin.” – Greta Gleissner 

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Elmquist, J., Shorey, R. C., Anderson, S. E., & Stuart, G. L. (2017). A preliminary investigation of the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and eating disorder symptoms among men in residential substance use treatment. Addiction Research & Theory, 25(1), 67–73. http://doi.org/10.1080/16066359.2016.1198475

 

Abstract

The comorbidity between eating disorders (EDs) and substance use disorders (SUDs) is of particular concern given the high rates of mortality, relapse and poor treatment outcomes associated with both disorders. As a result, there has been a growing impetus within the field to elucidate factors that might influence and aid treatment for this comorbidity. One such factor is dispositional mindfulness, as past literature has demonstrated a significant relationship between mindfulness and both EDs and SUDs. However, we are unaware of any research that has examined the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and ED symptoms in a sample of men in residential treatment for SUDs. Medical records from 152 men were included in the current study. Alcohol and drug use and problems, ED symptoms, and dispositional mindfulness were assessed with self-report measures. Hierarchical regression analysis indicated that dispositional mindfulness was inversely related to ED symptoms after controlling for alcohol use, drug use, and age. Although results are preliminary and continued research in this area is needed, our findings suggest that there may be potential usefulness in targeting and enhancing mindfulness among patients in residential treatment for SUDs with co-occurring psychiatric symptoms (e.g., EDs).

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5659606/

Reduce Cell Phone Withdrawal Anxiety with Mindfulness

Reduce Cell Phone Withdrawal Anxiety with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“It isn’t just the plethora of tech offerings that keep us feeling preoccupied and divided, it is our relationship to these devices that keep us wanting more.” – Sura

 

Over the last few decades cell phones have gone from a rare curiosity to the dominant mode of electronic communications. They have also expanded well beyond a telephone and have become powerful hand-held computers known as smartphones. In fact, they have become a dominant force in daily life, occupying large amounts of time and attention. We have become seriously attached. They have become so dominant that, for many, the thought of being without it produces anxiety. Many people have become addicted. It is estimated that about 12% of the population is truly “addicted,” developing greater levels of “tolerance” and experiencing “withdrawal” and distress when deprived of them.

 

Recent surveys and studies paint a vivid picture of our cell phone addiction: we feel a surge of panic when we are separated from our beloved cell phones. This has been given a name, nomophobia, “which is defined as the fear of being out of cellular phone contact, or “feelings of discomfort or anxiety experienced by individuals when they are unable to use their mobile phones or utilize the affordances these devices provide”. This phenomenon is so new that there is little understanding of its nature and causes. Obviously, nomophobia is ripe for scientific study.

 

In today’s Research News article “Individual Differences in the Relationship Between Attachment and Nomophobia Among College Students: The Mediating Role of Mindfulness.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5746620/ ), Ibrahim and colleagues study the relationships of this cell phone based phobia with attachment styles and mindfulness. They recruited undergraduate students and had them complete measurements of, attachment, mindfulness and nomophobia, with 4 subscales, “Unable to Access Information, Losing Connectedness, Unable to Communicate, and Giving Up Convenience.”

 

They noted that there were significant gender differences with women having significantly higher levels of anxious attachment and nomophobia than men. This suggests that women are emotionally more dependent and crave for more closeness and attention in their relationships than do men. and that women tend to become more dependent on their cell phones. So, just as women become more attached in their relationships, they also become more attached to their phones.

 

Ibrahim and colleagues also found that, overall, higher levels of both anxious and avoidant attachment were associated with higher levels of nomophobia and lower levels of mindfulness and higher levels of mindfulness were associated with lower levels of nomophobia. These results suggest that the attachment styles of cell phone users and their mindfulness are associated with the level of nomophobia, with anxious and avoidant attachment promoting nomophobia and mindfulness reducing it.

 

These results further suggest that people with more maladaptive styles of attachment, who are emotionally more dependent and crave more closeness and attention in their relationships, are also more prone to developing a phobia regarding their cell phones. On the other hand, people with high levels of mindfulness are less prone. So, mindfulness may, in part, be an antidote to nomophobia.

 

So, reduce cell phone withdrawal anxiety with mindfulness.

 

Those with mindfulness training were able to resist habitual behaviours — like instantly opening an email or text when it pops up — to focus their attention on individual tasks for longer. They began to make somewhat wiser choices about when to respond to something and when not to,” – David Levy

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Ibrahim Arpaci, Mustafa Baloğlu, Hatice İrem Özteke Kozan, Şahin Kesici. Individual Differences in the Relationship Between Attachment and Nomophobia Among College Students: The Mediating Role of Mindfulness. J Med Internet Res. 2017 Dec; 19(12): e404. Published online 2017 Dec 14. doi: 10.2196/jmir.8847

 

Abstract

Background

There is a growing interest in nomophobia, which is defined as the fear of being out of cellular phone contact, or “feelings of discomfort or anxiety experienced by individuals when they are unable to use their mobile phones or utilize the affordances these devices provide”. However, only limited research can be found in terms of its determinants at present. Contemporary literature suggests that the relationships among attachment styles, mindfulness, and nomophobia have not been investigated.

Objective

This study aims to investigate the mediating effect of mindfulness on the relationship between attachment and nomophobia. In addition, the study also focuses on gender differences in attachment, mindfulness, and nomophobia. A theory-based structural model was tested to understand the essentials of the associations between the constructs.

Methods

The Experiences in Close Relationships Scale, Nomophobia Questionnaire, and Mindful Attention Awareness Scale were used to collect data from undergraduate students (N=450; 70.9% women [319/450]; mean age=21.94 years [SD 3.61]). Two measurement models (ie, attachment and mindfulness) and a structural model were specified, estimated, and evaluated.

Results

The structural equation model shows that the positive direct effects of avoidant (.13, P=.03) and anxious attachment (.48, P<.001) on nomophobia were significant. The negative direct effects of avoidant (−.18, P=.01) and anxious attachment (−.33, P<.001) on mindfulness were also significant. Moreover, mindfulness has a significant negative effect on nomophobia for women only (−.13, P=.03). Finally, the Sobel test showed that the indirect effects of avoidant and anxious attachment on nomophobia via mindfulness were significant (P<.001). The direct and indirect effects of anxious attachment, avoidant attachment, and mindfulness altogether accounted for 33% of the total variance in nomophobia. Gender comparison results show that there is a significant difference in attachment based on gender (F2,447=6.97, P=.01, Wilk λ=.97, partial η2=.03). Women (mean 68.46 [SD 16.96]) scored significantly higher than men (mean 63.59 [SD 15.97]) in anxious attachment (F1=7.93, P=.01, partial η2=.02). Gender differences in mindfulness were not significant (F4,448=3.45, P=.69). On the other hand, results do show significant gender differences in nomophobia (F4,445=2.71, P=.03, Wilk λ=.98, partial η2=.02) where women scored significantly higher than men.

Conclusions

In general, individuals who are emotionally more dependent and crave more closeness and attention in the relationship tend to display higher levels of fear or discomfort when they have no access to their mobile phones. However, gender has a differential impact on the relationship between avoidant attachment and nomophobia. This study establishes the impact of mindfulness on nomophobia for women; therefore, future studies should test the effectiveness of mindfulness-based therapy approaches and confirm whether they are effective and efficient. On the basis of significant gender difference in nomophobia and attachment, we conclude that gender should be taken into account in mindfulness-based treatments dealing with nomophobia.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5746620/

Reduce the Alcohol Consumption of At-Risk Individuals with Mindfulness

Reduce the Alcohol Consumption of At-Risk Individuals with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Its latest experiment has not only proven the usefulness of mindfulness in this area, but shown that just 11 minutes of the therapy can reduce alcohol consumption in heavy drinkers.” – Liat Clark

 

Inappropriate use of alcohol is a major societal problem. In fact, about 25% of US adults have engaged in binge drinking in the last month and 7% have what is termed an alcohol use disorder. Alcohol abuse is very dangerous and frequently fatal. Nearly 88,000 people in the US and 3.3 million globally die from alcohol-related causes annually, making it the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Drunk driving accounted for over 10,000 deaths; 31% of all driving fatalities. Excessive alcohol intake has been shown to contribute to over 200 diseases including alcohol dependence, liver cirrhosis, cancers, and injuries. It is estimated that over 5% of the burden of disease and injury worldwide is attributable to alcohol consumption. These are striking and alarming statistics and indicate that controlling alcohol intake is an important priority for the individual and society.

 

There are a wide range of treatment programs for alcohol abuse, with varying success. Recently, mindfulness training has been successfully applied to treatment. One attractive feature of this training is that it appears to increase the ability of the drinker to control their intake, resulting in less binge drinking and dangerous inebriation. Since, mindfulness appears to hold promise as a treatment for excessive alcohol intake, there is a need to examine the individual components of training needed in order to maximize effectiveness.

 

In today’s Research News article “Ultra-Brief Mindfulness Training Reduces Alcohol Consumption in At-Risk Drinkers: A Randomized Double-Blind Active-Controlled Experiment.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5737497/ ), Kamboj and colleagues recruited adult heavy drinkers and randomly assigned them to receive either a brief relaxation or mindfulness instruction. They were measured before and after the relaxation or mindfulness instruction for blood pressure, heart rate, heart rate variability, breath holding duration, drinking during the prior week, drinking motives, alcohol cravings, anxiety, depression, emotional state, mindfulness, and relaxation. They were also measured for their emotional reactivity to a sip of water or a sip of beer. The amounts of beer drunk during a “taste test” were also recorded. The participants then received a brief mindfulness instruction emphasizing observing their internal state or a relaxation instruction emphasizing muscle softening. They were instructed to practice once a day for seven days. After the practice week, they completed on-line measures of alcohol consumption and their emotional state.

 

They found that immediately following instruction, an indicator of parasympathetic nervous system activity (Heart Rate Variability) was increased in the relaxation instruction group but not the mindfulness group suggesting that the relaxation instruction produced a physiological relaxation. At the one-week follow-up they found that both groups had significant reductions in alcohol cravings, but, importantly, only the mindfulness instructed group had significant reductions in alcohol consumption over the week.

 

These are interesting results that suggest that a very brief mindfulness instruction targeting observing internal sensations can produce reductions in alcohol consumption over a week’s period. It will be important to establish, in the future, if the reductions can be sustained over a longer period of time. But, nevertheless, the results suggest that paying attention to the individual’s internal state can lead to less drinking. This may be identifying the component of mindfulness training that is most important for mindfulness effects on alcohol consumption, observing internal sensations. This conclusion, in turn, may suggest how to optimize mindfulness based alcoholism treatment programs.

 

So, reduce the alcohol consumption of at-risk individuals with mindfulness.

 

“By being more aware of their cravings, we think the study participants were able to bring intention back into the equation, instead of automatically reaching for the drink when they feel a craving.” – Sunjeev Kamboj

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Sunjeev K Kamboj, Damla Irez, Shirley Serfaty, Emily Thomas, Ravi K Das, Tom P Freeman. Ultra-Brief Mindfulness Training Reduces Alcohol Consumption in At-Risk Drinkers: A Randomized Double-Blind Active-Controlled Experiment. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2017 Nov; 20(11): 936–947. Published online 2017 Aug 2. doi: 10.1093/ijnp/pyx064

 

Abstract

Background

Like other complex psychosocial interventions, mindfulness-based treatments comprise various modality-specific components as well as nonspecific therapeutic ingredients that collectively contribute to efficacy. Consequently, the isolated effects of mindfulness strategies per se remain unclear.

Methods

Using a randomized double-blind design, we compared the isolated effects of 11-minutes of “supervised” mindfulness instruction against a closely matched active control (relaxation) on subjective, physiological, and behavioral indices of maladaptive alcohol responding in drinkers at risk of harm from alcohol use (n = 68). Simple follow-up instructions on strategy use were provided, but practice was unsupervised and not formally monitored.

Results

Both groups showed acute reductions in craving after training, although a trend group x time interaction (P= .056) suggested that this reduction was greater in the relaxation group (d = 0.722 P < .001) compared with the mindfulness group (d = 0.317, P = .004). Furthermore, upregulation of parasympathetic activity was found after relaxation (d = 0.562; P < .001) but not mindfulness instructions (d = 0.08; P > .1; group x time interaction: P = .009). By contrast, only the mindfulness group showed a reduction in past-week alcohol consumption at 7-day follow-up (-9.31 units, d = 0.593, P < .001), whereas no significant reduction was seen in the relaxation group (-3.00 units, d = 0.268, P > .1; group x time interaction: P = .026).

Conclusion

Very brief mindfulness practice can significantly reduce alcohol consumption among at-risk drinkers, even with minimal encouragement to use this strategy outside of the experimental context. The effects on consumption may therefore represent a lower bound of efficacy of “ultra-brief” mindfulness instructions in hazardous drinkers, at least at short follow-up intervals.

Significance Statement

We examine the isolated effects of simple mindfulness instructions in people at risk of harm from alcohol consumption (“at-risk drinkers”). A single brief session of mindfulness resulted in significant reductions in alcohol consumption compared with a carefully matched relaxation control condition at 1-week follow-up. These findings suggest that even “ultra-brief” experience with mindfulness can have measurable and potentially clinically meaningful effects in at-risk drinkers.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5737497/

Slightly Improve Substance Use Disorder with Mindfulness

Slightly Improve Substance Use Disorder with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“though it may seem paradoxical, by increasing your ability to accept and tolerate the present moment, you become more able to make needed changes in your life. . . Also, practicing balanced emotional responses can reduce your stress level, and anxiety and stress are often triggers for substance abuse and addictive behavior. In addition, when you choose a neutral rather than a judgmental response to your thoughts and feelings, you can increase your sense of self-compassion rather than beating yourself up, which is often associated with addictive behaviors.” – Adi Jaffe

 

Substance abuse is a major health and social problem. There are estimated 22.2 million people in the U.S. with substance dependence. It is estimated that worldwide there are nearly ¼ million deaths yearly as a result of illicit drug use which includes unintentional overdoses, suicides, HIV and AIDS, and trauma. In the U.S. about 17 million people abuse alcohol. Drunk driving fatalities accounted for over 10,000 deaths annually. Obviously, there is a need to find effective methods to prevent and treat substance abuse. There are a number of programs that are successful at stopping the drug abuse, including the classic 12-step program emblematic of Alcoholics Anonymous. Unfortunately, the majority of drug and/or alcohol abusers relapse and return to substance abuse. Hence, it is important to find an effective method to prevent these relapses.

 

Mindfulness practices have been shown to improve recovery from various addictions. Mindfulness-based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) has been developed to specifically assist in relapse prevention and has been shown to be effective. “MBRP integrates mindfulness practices with cognitive-behavioral Relapse Prevention therapy and aims to help participants increase awareness and acceptance of difficult thoughts, feelings, and sensations to create changes in patterns of reactive behavior that commonly lead to relapse. Mindfulness training in MBRP provides clients with a new way of processing situational cues and monitoring internal reactions to contingencies, and this awareness supports proactive behavioral choices in the face of high-risk relapse situation.” – Grow et al. 2015

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based Relapse Prevention for Substance Use Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5636047/, Grant and colleagues review and perform a meta-analysis of the published research literature on the effectiveness of Mindfulness-based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) in treating substance use disorder. They identified 9 randomized controlled trials and examined the effects of MBRP on relapse, frequency and quantity of substance use, withdrawal/craving symptoms, treatment dropout, depressive and anxiety symptoms, negative consequences from substance use, and health-related quality of life and also its safety

 

They found that the summarized published research literature reported few and small positive effects. On most of the outcome measures there were no significant improvements produced by MBRP. Small significant improvements were found for withdrawal effects and cravings and the negative effects of substance use. They found that there were no adverse effects of MBRP. These are disappointing results that suggest that Mindfulness-based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) is safe but only slightly effective in treating substance use disorder.

 

These are surprising results as individual trials have reported significant effects. But, it appears that the different trials reported significant effects on different variables with some finding effects on a measure while others finding no effects on the same measure but reporting effects on different measures. When summarized, the reported effects appear to average away. Substance use disorder is such an important social and health issue where there are few viable treatment options, that further research on Mindfulness-based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) is warranted to investigate what components are effective and which not and how to optimize effectiveness.

 

So, slightly improve substance use disorder with mindfulness.

 

“Modeled after mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression and mindfulness-based stress reduction, MBRP tackles the very roots of addictive behavior by targeting two of the main predictors of relapse: negative emotions and cravings.” – Carolyn Gregoire

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Sean Grant, Benjamin Colaiaco, Aneesa Motala, Roberta Shanman, Marika Booth, Melony Sorbero, Susanne Hempel. Mindfulness-based Relapse Prevention for Substance Use Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. J Addict Med. 2017 Sep; 11(5): 386–396. Published online 2017 Jul 19. doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000338

 

Abstract

Objectives:

Substance use disorder (SUD) is a prevalent health issue with serious personal and societal consequences. This review aims to estimate the effects and safety of Mindfulness-based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) for SUDs.

Methods:

We searched electronic databases for randomized controlled trials evaluating MBRP for adult patients diagnosed with SUDs. Two reviewers independently assessed citations, extracted trial data, and assessed risks of bias. We conducted random-effects meta-analyses and assessed quality of the body of evidence (QoE) using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation approach.

Results:

We identified 9 randomized controlled trials comprising 901 participants. We did not detect statistically significant differences between MBRP and comparators on relapse (odds ratio [OR] 0.72, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.46–1.13, low QoE), frequency of use (standardized mean difference [SMD] 0.02, 95% CI −0.40 to 0.44, low QoE), treatment dropout (OR 0.81, 95% CI 0.40 to 1.62, very low QoE), depressive symptoms (SMD −0.09, 95% CI −0.39 to 0.21, low QoE), anxiety symptoms (SMD −0.32, 95% CI −1.16 to 0.52, very low QoE), and mindfulness (SMD −0.28, 95% CI −0.72 to 0.16, very low QoE). We identified significant differences in favor of MBRP on withdrawal/craving symptoms (SMD −0.13, 95% CI −0.19 to −0.08, I2 = 0%, low QoE) and negative consequences of substance use (SMD −0.23, 95% CI −0.39 to −0.07, I2 = 0%, low QoE). We found negligible evidence of adverse events.

Conclusions:

We have limited confidence in estimates suggesting MBRP yields small effects on withdrawal/craving and negative consequences versus comparator interventions. We did not detect differences for any other outcome. Future trials should aim to minimize participant attrition to improve confidence in effect estimates.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5636047/

Reduce Drug Addiction and Prison Recidivism with Mindfulness

Reduce Drug Addiction and Prison Recidivism with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Being in prison presents tremendous obstacles to cultivating a peaceful mind, the environment is conducive to negativity and can result in further harm. On every level, the basic antidote to inner and outer obstacles is mindfulness practice.” – Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche,

 

Around 2 ¼ million people are incarcerated in the United States. Many are serving time for drug related offenses. Even though prisons are euphemistically labelled correctional facilities very little correction actually occurs. This is supported by the rates of recidivism. About three quarters of prisoners who are released commit crimes and are sent back to prison within 5-years. The lack of actual treatment for the prisoners leaves them ill equipped to engage positively in society either inside or outside of prison. Hence, there is a need for effective treatment programs that help the prisoners while in prison and prepares them for life outside the prison.

 

Prison provides a great deal of time for reflection and self-exploration. This provides an opportunity for growth and development. Contemplative practices are well suited to this environment. Meditation teaches skills that may be very important for prisoners. In particular, it puts the practitioner in touch with their own bodies and feelings. It improves present moment awareness and helps to overcome rumination about the past and negative thinking about the future. It’s been shown to be useful in the treatment of the effects of trauma and attention deficit disorder. It also relieves stress and improves overall health and well-being. Finally, meditation has been shown to be effective in treating depressionanxiety, and anger. It has also been shown to help overcome trauma in male prisoners.

 

In addition, mindfulness can help to treat drug addictions that often underlie incarceration and promote recidivism after release. There are a number of programs that are successful at stopping the drug abuse, including the classic 12-step program emblematic of Narcotics Anonymous. Unfortunately, the majority of drug and/or alcohol abusers relapse and return to substance abuse. Hence, it is important to find an effective method to not only produce abstinence but also prevent relapses. Mindfulness training has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for reducing addiction relapse. So, mindfulness training can be helpful in preventing recidivism.

 

In today’s Research News article “Prison Meditation Movements and Mass Incarceration.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4633398/, Lyons and Cantrell review the published research literature on the effectiveness of mindfulness trainings on reducing drug addiction and prisoner recidivism. They report that the research supports the effectiveness of mindfulness in combating drug addiction and its effects may last longer than other forms of addiction therapy even in prison populations. Importantly, improvements have been shown to be maintained after release from prison. Additionally, meditation programs in prison have been shown to produce significant reductions in prisoner hostility and increases in self-esteem and mood.

 

Hence, meditation training can be effective in the treatment of addictions and the psychological issues of prisoners and can have effects that continue post-release. Lyons and Cantrell postulate that the presence of a meditation group (Sangha) in prison creates a social context that is very important for success. They also suggest that linking the prisoners to meditation groups outside of prison can be helpful in maintaining benefits after release. They also suggest that focusing on experiences in meditation and empowering prisoners to lead their own groups may be help to potentiate effectiveness. So, meditation training in prison appears to be a promising practice to assist prisoners in coping with addiction and improving their psychological state while in prison and continuing after release. This is likely to help prisoners adjust to the outside world and reduce the likelihood that they will be arrested again and returned to prison.

 

So, reduce drug addiction and prison recidivism with mindfulness.

 

How do we bring sanity into one of the most hostile environments of our society ­- our prisons? . . . Mindfulness creates mental discipline and stability. This provides the inmates with the tools they need to cultivate a sense of ease, decency and compassion. Isn’t that the point of rehabilitation?” – Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Lyons, T., & Cantrell, W. D. (2016). Prison Meditation Movements and Mass Incarceration. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 60(12), 1363–1375. http://doi.org/10.1177/0306624X15583807

 

Abstract

By some estimates more than half of inmates held in jails and prisons in the United States have a substance use disorder. Treatments involving the teaching of meditation and other contemplative practices have been developed for a variety of physical and mental disorders including drug and alcohol addiction. At the same time, an expanding volunteer movement across the country has been bringing meditation and yoga into jails and prisons. This review first examines the experimental research on one such approach – mindfulness meditation as a treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, as well as the research on mindfulness in incarcerated settings. We argue that in order to make a substantial impact on recidivism, such programs must mirror volunteer programs which emphasize interdependency and non-duality between the “helper” and the “helped,” and the building of meditation communities both inside and outside of prison.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4633398/

Reduce Compulsive Sexual Behavior with Mindfulness

Reduce Compulsive Sexual Behavior with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

ve Sexual Behavior with Mindfulnessfeeling ashamed of one’s sexual desires, interests, fetishes, and so on, only makes one feel more obsessive and compulsive about them, rather than the opposite. . .. Mindfulness practice helps my clients to observe their reactions to themselves in accepting and non-judgmental ways. Also, they learn to catch and become aware of the negative thoughts and emotions that arise that make them feel compelled to act out.” – Michael Aaron

 

Sexual behavior is a very important aspect of human behavior, especially for reproduction. In fact, Sigmund Freud made it a centerpiece of his psychodynamic theory. At its best, it is the glue that holds families and relationships together. But, it is a common source of dysfunction and psychosocial problems. Compulsive sexual behavior “encompasses problems with preoccupation with thoughts surrounding sexual behavior, loss of control over sexual behavior, disturbances in relationships due to sexual behavior, and disturbances in affect (e.g., shame) due to sexual behavior.” It is also called sex addiction and hypersexuality. It is chronic and remarkably common affecting 3% to 17% of the population. In addition, it is associated with substance abuse in around half of people with compulsive sexual behavior.

 

Compulsive sexual behavior is frequently treated with psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioral, Therapy, or drugs with mixed success. Since, it is also looked at as an addiction and mindfulness treatment has been found to be effective for both sexual dysfunction and for addictions, mindfulness may be affective for individuals with both substance abuse and compulsive sexual behavior. As a first step in evaluation this possibility, the relationship between mindfulness and compulsive sexual behavior needs to be investigated in these individuals.

 

In today’s Research News article “The relationship between mindfulness and compulsive sexual behavior in a sample of men in treatment for substance use disorders.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4996480/, Shorey and colleagues recruited men in a residential treatment center for substance abuse. Upon admission to the facility and after withdrawal from drugs the men completed a battery of tests including measures of mindfulness, alcohol use, drug use, and compulsive sexual behavior, including preoccupation, loss of control, relationship disturbance, and affect (emotional) disturbance.

 

They found that the higher the level of mindfulness that the men had the lower the levels of drug use, alcohol use, and compulsive sexual behavior, including preoccupation, loss of control, relationship disturbance, and affect disturbance. These relationships with compulsive sexual behavior remained significant and negative even when drug and alcohol use were factored in. In contrast, drug use was not related to compulsive sexual behavior, except for a positive relationship with relationship disturbance. So, although there’s high comorbidity between substance abuse and compulsive sexual behavior, they don’t appear to be highly related.

 

These are encouraging results that suggest that mindfulness may be an antidote for compulsive sexual behavior in patients with substance abuse. These results, however, are correlative and so causation cannot be concluded and are only applicable to men. The next step, of course, will be to form a randomized clinical trial of the effects of mindfulness training on compulsive sexual behavior in patients with substance abuse in both men and women to establish the efficacy of mindfulness training as a treatment. It is possible that mindfulness training will be effective for the treatment of both substance abuse and compulsive sexual behavior in both genders.

 

So, reduce compulsive sexual behavior with mindfulness.

 

“findings tentatively support the usefulness of mindfulness in the effective treatment of sex addiction. In addition to helping bring about a reduction in dysfunctional sex-related actions, fantasies and thoughts, mindfulness training may help affected individuals gain improved emotional control, an increased ability to handle stressful situations and improved resistance to any potentially damaging sex-related urges that arise.” – The Ranch

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Shorey, R. C., Elmquist, J., Gawrysiak, M. J., Anderson, S., & Stuart, G. L. (2016). The relationship between mindfulness and compulsive sexual behavior in a sample of men in treatment for substance use disorders. Mindfulness, 7(4), 866–873. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-016-0525-9

 

Abstract

Substance use disorders (SUDs) are a serious worldwide problem. Despite years of research on the treatment of SUDs, relapse remains high. One factor that may complicate SUDs treatment for some patients is compulsive sexual behavior. Factors that are related to both SUDs and compulsive sexual behavior could be targeted in SUDs treatment. In the current study, we examined dispositional mindfulness, a protective factor for a range of mental health problems, and its relationship to compulsive sexual behavior in a SUDs treatment sample. This is the first study to examine this relationship in a SUDs sample. Medical records from men in residential SUDs treatment were reviewed for the current study (N = 271). Upon admission to treatment, men completed self-report measures on alcohol and drug use, dispositional mindfulness, and compulsive sexual behavior. Bivariate correlations demonstrated dispositional mindfulness to be negatively associated with a variety of indicators of compulsive sexual behavior. After controlling for alcohol and drug use and problems in hierarchical regression analyses, which were both associated with compulsive sexual behaviors, dispositional mindfulness remained negatively associated with all of the compulsive sexual behavior indicators. Our results provide the first empirical association between dispositional mindfulness and compulsive sexual behavior in a SUDs sample. Although continued research is needed in this area, our findings suggest that it may be beneficial for SUDs treatment to incorporate mindfulness-based interventions for individuals with comorbid compulsive sexual behavior.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4996480/

Reduce Addictions Relapse in Minority Women with Mindfulness

Reduce Addictions Relapse in Minority Women with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“By being mindful the individual will be able to see that these cravings appear in the mind and then disappear. They are like clouds passing through the sky. Sometimes just acknowledging the craving will be enough to make it disappear.“ – Addiction Rehab

 

Substance abuse is a major health and social problem. There are estimated 22.2 million people in the U.S. with substance dependence. It is estimated that worldwide there are nearly ¼ million deaths yearly as a result of illicit drug use which includes unintentional overdoses, suicides, HIV and AIDS, and trauma. In the U.S. about 17 million people abuse alcohol. Drunk driving fatalities accounted for over 10,000 deaths annually  Obviously there is a need to find effective methods to prevent and treat substance abuse. There are a number of programs that are successful at stopping the drug abuse, including the classic 12-step program emblematic of Alcoholics Anonymous. Unfortunately, the majority of drug and/or alcohol abusers relapse and return to substance abuse. Hence, it is important to find an effective method to prevent these relapses.

 

Mindfulness practices have been shown to improve recovery from various addictionsMindfulness-based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) has been developed to specifically assist in relapse prevention and has been shown to be effective. “MBRP integrates mindfulness practices with cognitive-behavioral Relapse Prevention therapy and aims to help participants increase awareness and acceptance of difficult thoughts, feelings, and sensations to create changes in patterns of reactive behavior that commonly lead to relapse. Mindfulness training in MBRP provides clients with a new way of processing situational cues and monitoring internal reactions to contingencies, and this awareness supports proactive behavioral choices in the face of high-risk relapse situation.” – Grow et al. 2015

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based relapse prevention with racial and ethnic minority women.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5441877/, Witkiewitz and colleagues recruited adult women in a residential substance abuse treatment facility for criminal offenders.   All of the women were abstinent at the time of treatment. Substance abuse included “methamphetamines (15%), alcohol (12%), heroin (11%), marijuana (10%), crack cocaine (9%), and hallucinogens (2%).” The women were randomly assigned to receive twice weekly 50-minute sessions over 8 weeks of either standard relapse prevention treatment or Mindfulness-based Relapse Prevention (MBRP). They were measured before treatment and 6 months later for drug use and addiction severity.

 

They compared the effectiveness of standard relapse prevention treatment to Mindfulness-based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) and compared minority women to non-hispanic white women. They found that (MBRP) produced significantly better relapse prevention for the minority women including less drug use and addiction severity. In fact, the minority women treated with (MBRP) had no drug use at all in the 6 months following treatment.

 

These are interesting results that (MBRP) is effective in preventing relapse but also that it is most effective for minority women. The improved addiction severity scores were due primarily to fewer health problems in the minority women. It is not known exactly why (MBRP) is more effective for minority women in producing improved abstinence and better general health. Nevertheless, the study does demonstrate that (MBRP) is an effective treatment preventing relapse after addiction recovery especially with minority women.

 

So, reduce addictions relapse in minority women with mindfulness.

 

“the classical Buddhist meditation literature and recent scientific findings appear to agree that when correctly practised and administered, mindfulness meditation is a safe, non-invasive, and cost-effective tool for treating behavioral addictions and for improving psychological health more generally.” – Mark Griffiths

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Witkiewitz, K., Greenfield, B. L., & Bowen, S. (2013). Mindfulness-based relapse prevention with racial and ethnic minority women. Addictive Behaviors, 38(12), 2821–2824. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2013.08.018

 

Highlights

  • Results from a trial of relapse prevention (RP) and mindfulness-based RP (MBRP)
  • MBRP was more efficacious than RP for racial or ethnic minority female clients.
  • At follow-up, minorities in MBRP had no drug use days and lower addiction severity.

Abstract

Racial and ethnic disparities in the treatment of addiction have been acknowledged for several years, yet little is known about which empirically supported treatments for substance use disorders are more or less effective in treating racial and ethnic minority clients. The current study was a secondary analysis of a randomized clinical trial of two evidence-based treatments, mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP) and relapse prevention (RP), as part of a residential addiction treatment program for women referred by the criminal justice system (n = 70). At 15-week follow-up, regression analyses found that racial and ethnic minority women in MBRP, compared to non-Hispanic and racial and ethnic minority women in RP, reported significantly fewer drug use days (d = .31) and lower addiction severity (d = .65), based on the Addiction Severity Index. Although the small sample size is a limitation, the results suggest that MBRP may be more efficacious than traditional treatments for racial and ethnic minority women.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5441877/

Stay Abstinent from Smoking Mindfully

Stay Abstinent from Smoking Mindfully

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“I liken it to having weeds in your garden. Standard treatments—for example, avoiding triggers such as ashtrays and lighters or using substitutes such as eating carrot sticks and chewing on your pen—just pull the heads off the weeds, so they grow back. These treatments don’t uproot the craving itself. In contrast, mindfulness really gets in there and pulls up the roots.” – Judson Brewer

 

“Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States.” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). So, treating nicotine addiction and producing smoking cessation could greatly improve health. But, smoking has proved devilishly difficult to treat. There are a wide variety of methods and strategies to quit smoking which are to only a very limited extent effective. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 40% of smokers who want to quit make a serious attempt to do so each year, but fewer than 5% actually succeed. Most people require three or four failed attempts before being successful.

 

One problem is that nicotine is one of the most addictive substances known and withdrawal from nicotine is very stressful, producing many physical and psychological problems, including negative emotional states and depression. In essence, the addict feels miserable without the nicotine. This promotes relapse to relieve the discomfort. Better methods to quit which can not only promote quitting but also prevent relapse are badly needed. Mindfulness practices have been found to be helpful in treating addictions, including nicotine addiction, and reducing the risk of relapse.

 

In today’s Research News article “Dispositional Mindfulness Predicts Enhanced Smoking Cessation and Smoking Lapse Recovery.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4867253/, Heppner and colleagues recruited African American smokers who smoked at least 5 cigarettes per day for at least one year and enrolled in a smoking cessation treatment program. They were measured 19 and 5 days before quitting smoking and 3 days, 31 days, and 26 weeks after quitting for cigarettes smoked per day, smoking abstinence, mindfulness, positive and negative emotions, dependence and withdrawal symptoms, self-efficacy, and social support.

 

They found that the number of participants remaining abstinent dropped precipitously over 26 weeks but mindfulness mattered. Abstinence dropped to around 7% of participants who were low in mindfulness but to only 14% of participants who were high in mindfulness. Of those participants who relapsed at day 3 after treatment high mindfulness participants were significantly more likely to recover abstinence by day 31 and week 26. They also found that the improvement in abstinence at day 3 produced by mindfulness occurred primarily as a result of mindfulness producing lower levels of sadness, anger, and depression, lower use of smoking to control emotions, and more social support which in turn were associated with better abstinence rates.

 

These results are interesting but correlational, so causation cannot be determined. But, prior research has shown that mindfulness training improves treatment for nicotine addiction. So, it is likely that the relationships between mindfulness and smoking cessation observed in the present study were due to mindfulness causing the improved abstinence. Mindfulness acted through intermediaries of improved emotion regulation and improved social support to support abstinence. These results suggest that mindfulness is very helpful in remaining abstinent after quitting smoking and should become a component of all smoking cessation treatment packages.

 

So, stay abstinent from smoking mindfully.

 

“each time the individual does not succumb to the craving, the craving becomes weaker until eventually it no longer gets triggered. Moreover, with each moment of mindfulness, the smoker regains a sense of control and understanding regarding their mind and body, which can be empowering.”Azadeh Aalai

 

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Heppner, W. L., Spears, C. A., Correa-Fernández, V., Castro, Y., Li, Y., Guo, B., … Wetter, D. W. (2016). Dispositional Mindfulness Predicts Enhanced Smoking Cessation and Smoking Lapse Recovery. Annals of Behavioral Medicine : A Publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, 50(3), 337–347. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12160-015-9759-3

 

Abstract

Background

Although mindfulness has been hypothesized to promote health behaviors, no research has examined how dispositional mindfulness might influence the process of smoking cessation.

Purpose

The current study investigated dispositional mindfulness, smoking abstinence, and recovery from a lapse among African American smokers.

Methods

Participants were 399 African Americans seeking smoking cessation treatment (treatments did not include any components related to mindfulness). Dispositional mindfulness and other psychosocial measures were obtained pre-quit; smoking abstinence was assessed 3 days, 31 days, and 26 weeks post-quit.

Results

Individuals higher in dispositional mindfulness were more likely to quit smoking both initially and over time. Moreover, among individuals who had lapsed at day 3, those higher in mindfulness were more likely to recover abstinence by the later time points. The mindfulness-early abstinence association was mediated by lower negative affect, lower expectancies to regulate affect via smoking, and higher perceived social support.

Conclusions

Results suggest that mindfulness might enhance smoking cessation among African American smokers by operating on mechanisms posited by prominent models of addiction.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4867253/