Addiction is something that has had a direct impact upon my family in the past and while there is limited help available to addicts in regard to their mental health and well-being, their families are sadly often forgotten.
Mindfulness is a powerful tool in the treatment of addictions which take hold in many subtle psychological ways, it enables us to: -
-Understand our desires
-Notice cravings and choose how to react before they take hold
-Regular practice strengthens our muscles of attention so we find it easier to release thoughts and cravings
-Teaches us how to experience cravings without necessarily reacting to them
-Shows us a way to deal with stress so we are less likely to use a 'crutch'
In a recent study Neuroscientists found that after just five 20 minute sessions of a mindfulness meditation technique, people had increased blood flow to an area of the brain vital to self-control, the anterior cingulate cortex. After 11 hours of practice, they found actual physical changes in the brain around this area. (Reference Short-term meditation induces white matter changes in the anterior cingulate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(35), 15649-15652)
The programme we will be using for this combines Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques over a period of 8 weeks. Participants will be expected to attend each session as well as carrying out some practice at home in-between sessions (MP3's are provided for this).