Meditation is not a cure and it is not a medicine. It is a scientifically backed tool which has been proven numerous times to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety, in addition to the common stress which can worsen both conditions. Both depression and anxiety are highly co-occurring mental health disorders with addiction and alcoholism. Sometimes, depression and anxiety first appear during treatment for substance use disorders. As the brain adjusts to a low production of dopamine due to being completely depleted, the brain is chemically imbalanced in its ability to regulate thought and emotions. Other times, depression and anxiety have been suppressed by substance abuse and only show themselves once the substances have been removed. Depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues which went undiagnosed and untreated can lead to substance use disorder problems.
Discussing the efficacy of meditation in treating anxiety and depression, Huffington Post cites recent research from Georgetown University. The small study of 70 participants with generalized anxiety disorder, GAD, were separated into two groups. One group was taught MBSR, mindfulness based stress reduction, with the other group received neither mindfulness nor meditation instruction. “The scientists found that participants who learned the mindfulness techniques showed much lower levels of a specific biomarker for stress in the body,” the article explains. “This could suggest meditation can not only help how someone feels over time, but also may leave an impression on a cellular level.” Interestingly, only some of the participants received meditation and mindfulness training so that researchers could observe the effects of it as an active component.
Though the study found that mindfulness and meditation help reduce the effects of depression and anxiety, it did not designate mindfulness or meditation as the answer to depression and anxiety. As a society, we are anxious to find magical cure-alls for our problems in order to eliminate the amount of work we put into solving them. Unfortunately, that is not the case for most mental health and substance use issues. Mindfulness and meditation are tools for reducing stress and symptoms, managing emotions, relaxing the physical body, and opening the mind. Tools are plenty in recovery and meditation is one of them. It is important to understand that tools which work for one person might not work for another. Though the benefits of meditation seem to be universal, it just might not fit for someone.
Going to a licensed treatment facility is helpful in working with professionals who can help you discover the various forms of treatment which do work for you and do not work for you.
Lakehouse Recovery works with each client to create a customized, individual plan of treatment open to finding out what works best to help you heal. From clinical therapy to integrative healing, recovery and non-recovery programs, our treatment is diverse. For information on our residential treatment programs, call us today at 877.762.3707.