Yoga in Addiction Treatment
Yoga is now popular all around the world due to the different benefits that people have to associated it with. In the addiction treatment and rehabilitation sphere, it is also used to help clients struggling with substance abuse and chemical dependency.
Yoga can be defined as a mindfulness activity that is designed to help you deal with stress and pressure in your life. It is considered to be effective in the treatment of substance abuse and addiction, especially in the context of alternative or complementary therapy.
The practice involves the use of various mental and physical techniques to target the parts of the brain that have been affected by drug and alcohol abuse. It can also prove useful in reducing the cravings that you may be feeling for these substances of abuse. However, you still need to remember that it is like most of the other forms of treatment applied today in the sense that its effectiveness can be improved with other therapy options.
But what exactly is yoga? Essentially, it refers to a set of spiritual, mental, and physical disciplines that are designed to improve your sense of wellness and health as well as to improve your mood.
The activities involved also use different body postures, meditation techniques, and breathing modulations to promote spirituality, relaxation, and physical strength. The practitioners also belief that its benefits apply to their health and wellness.
As a stress-management practice, yoga has also been shown to be effective in reducing the risk factors for a number of diseases, including but not limited to heart disease, high blood pressure, and substance abuse and addiction. The practice might also help to assuage various health conditions, like chronic pain and insomnia.
Many people now use this practice to manage their depression and anxiety - some of the mental health disorders that often tend to occur at the same time as substance abuse and addiction. This is because the mindfulness practices involved in yoga are effective at targeting the parts of the brain that are mostly affected by alcohol and drugs.
Research studies have also indicated that yoga - among several other mindfulness techniques - can prove useful in the management and treatment of substance use disorders and mental illness. This is especially true when it is used alongside other traditional treatment methods that are evidence-based.
This is because yoga offers a combination of relaxation techniques and physical exercises that can improve long term outcomes. For this reason, many organizations are starting to use its therapeutic benefits to deal with the mental and physical health problems that their patients are struggling with - including those who are addicted to heroin as well as those who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Forms of Yoga
Yoga comes from the Hindu religion. For many centuries now, those who follow this religion have used it to deal achieve spiritual enlightenment, reduce psychological pain, and alleviate physical ailments. Today, the practice has become popular in the United Sates where people use it to reduce stress and as a form of exercise.
Some of the different types of yoga include:
- Bhakti, which is the practice of focusing love and devotion to a higher power by changing and mantra meditation
- Bikram, which uses physically demanding postured in a heated room to cleanse the body and release tension through sweating
- Hatha, which uses meditation, breathing techniques, and posture exercises to heal the soul, mind, and body
- Jnana, which involves the use of meditation, self-reflection, conscious illumination, and self-questioning for self-realization and wisdom seeking
- Karma, which uses various body movements to detach one from oneself with the goal of reducing ego and self-centeredness
Benefits of Yoga
Various research studies now suggest that there are mindfulness activities, such as yoga, that can prove useful in helping people who are struggling with substance abuse and addiction. However, most of these studies report that it is mostly effective when combined with traditional treatment. The reason for its efficacy is linked to the effect of meditation on the GABA neurotransmitter in the human brain.
More specifically, yoga can raise the levels of this neurotransmitter. In the process, it will reduce anxiety and stress - some of the negative emotions and thought patterns that are linked to an increased risk of substance abuse and addiction.
According to a study that was published in 2014 in the Complementary Therapies in Medicine journal, yoga was used in the treatment of alcohol dependence. In a trial, a total of 18 people struggling with an alcohol use disorder received traditional addiction treatment while another group received a combination of yoga and traditional treatment. From the results, it was shown that the latter group showed the largest rates of decrease in alcohol consumption.
Nursing Research also published a study showing the efficacy of this mindfulness meditation practice in treating heroin addiction. The study indicated that it could significantly improve the quality of life and mood of female users of the drug while they were going through detoxification processes.
Although scientists are still now sure about the exact ways in which yoga is effective at improving health, many researchers now belief that the activities and postures involved lead to an increase in the production of endorphins in the brain - chemicals that are responsible for increasing feelings of pleasure as well as a reduction in pain.
As such, yoga is now known to have several additional medical benefits. This is because it has been shown to decrease pain, improve balance, lower resting heart rate, improve bone density, and lead to an increase in immunity.
The practice is also associated with many other psychological effects. For instance, it can improve self-acceptance, increase self-compassion, and reduce hostility. For this reason, it might prove effective in helping people who are struggling with various mental health problems, including but not limited to substance abuse and chemical dependency.
The many benefits of yoga have been documented. As a result, many addiction treatment programs - particularly those that offer complementary and alternative options for recovery - sometimes recommend it to their patients.
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