Mindfulness meditation is a practice that was developed in the ancient Buddhist tradition and continues to be practiced today. It involves obtaining a calm and conscious awareness of one’s body functions and feelings. Currently, many therapists are incorporating this practice of mindfulness meditation with cognitive behavioral therapy to form a treatment for a variety of mental and physical conditions including substance use disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and pain. Some of the mindfulness-based therapy techniques currently in use include Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Many books, DVDs, and Internet websites are available for any person interested in learning about this practice. In addition there are many studies available for review that reveal the many uses and benefits of mindfulness meditation techniques, demonstrating this is evidence-based therapy we can incorporate with confidence for a variety of therapeutic needs.
Additional value in mindfulness meditation is that it is a non-drug treatment. For those battling drug addictions, drug treatments may not be an option to treat co-occurring PTSD and pain. Drug dependence theories posit that drug dependence is a disease state, in which physical dependency on the substance eventually leads to the compulsive and repetitive use of the substance despite the negative consequences to the user’s health, mental state, or social life (Shen, Orson, & Kosten, 2012). This drug dependence is often a result of prescription drugs. Research has revealed that individuals prescribed opioid drugs, used for the treatment of chronic pain, had a significantly higher rate of misuse than those with a history of drug abuse who were not prescribed opioids (Pohl & Smith, 2012). This has become a serious problem in the United States with the overuse, abuse, and addiction to opioid medications. Opioid dependence is considered to be a lifelong, chronic, and relapsing disorder for the individual (Shen, Orson, & Kosten, 2012). Therefore, in patients who have a history of addiction or other risk factors for developing addiction, opioids should be prescribed with consideration of their tendency. The need to explore alternatives is obvious. Mindfulness techniques that address even complex co-occurring disorders such as substance use disorder with PTSD and pain are worthy of exploration. At dohi Center for Well-being we utilize mindfulness techniques in counseling as well as teach Mindfulness Meditation to the clients we see, and we are very pleased with the results.
Pohl, M., & Smith, L. (2012). Chronic pain and addiction: challenging co-occurring disorders. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 44(2), 119-124. doi:10.1080/02791072.2012.684621
Shen, X., Orson, F., & Kosten, T. (2012). Vaccines against drug abuse. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 91(1), 60-70. doi:10.1038/clpt.2011.281