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JCOM Abstract

J Clin Outcomes Manage 
2011 Oct;18(10):473-479
Integrating mindfulness meditation and cognitive behavioral traditions for the long-term treatment of addictive behaviors
Bowen S, Witkiewitz K, Chawla N, Grow J

Abstract: Objective: To review the evidence supporting mindfulness meditation–based therapies for addictive disorders, with a focus on Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention. Methods: Review of the literature. Results: There have been several studies over the past 4 decades on the application of meditation techniques in the treatment of problematic substance abuse. More recently, however, the focus has shifted to “mindfulness” meditation practices, and the addition of mindfulness meditation to existing empirically supported treatments for substance abuse and dependence. Several common mechanisms by which meditation may impact alcohol and other drug use have been suggested, including increasing recognition of and ability to tolerate negative affective states, alleviation of stress, reduction of craving, and enhanced ability to cope with craving. Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention integrates mindfulness meditation practices with cognitive behavioral relapse prevention techniques for clients in early abstinence. The program is aimed at raising awareness, cultivating compassion, and increasing the ability to relate differently to challenging cognitive, emotional and physical experiences, particularly those previously associated with relapse. Conclusion: Although the extant studies show promise, future studies identifying the active mechanisms and target populations for mindfulness-based treatments will help our understanding and further development of these treatments.

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