Mindfulness meditation may reduce addictions

Health 31 January, 2018


Published the 31.01.2018 at 20: 30


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The World Health Organization (WHO) defines addiction as “a state of dependence, periodic or chronic substances or behaviors”. According to the specialized site Addict Help, 20% of mortality is related to addictions : each year, 70 000 people die due to tobacco use and 49 000 of the consequences of alcohol. More serious, 50 % of the facts of delinquency are also related to addiction. Overall, it is estimated that about 90% of people are victims of some addiction (games, social networks, television, work, sport, eating disorders…), but at different levels.

To treat the addictions, the health professionals usually favour an individual and personalized taking into account the context of personal and social of the patient. There is a myriad of approaches to psychological and psychiatric care for addiction, the researchers from City University of London have also discovered that the exercises in mindfulness are able to block the desire to consume excessive food, alcohol, drugs or cigarettes. The research was published in Clinical Psychology Review.

Mindfulness occupies a part of the spirit of

Mindfulness meditation has long been used to treat cravings compulsive. According to ancient buddhist texts, desire causes suffering but can be avoided by practicing mindfulness meditation. Scientists see it as the way to make changes of clinically-relevant behaviour, by empowering patients to have a greater awareness of bodily sensations and detaching from thoughts and emotions.

But if he acknowledges its therapeutic properties, the medical sector has a limited understanding of how mindfulness meditation can influence the outcomes the desire. In reviewing 30 studies on the subject, they have found that some of the beneficial effects observed had no doubt of an interruption of the desire by loading the working memory, a portion of our short-term memory for perceptual processing and language-aware immediate.

Meditation does not replace the alternative strategies

“The research suggests that some strategies based on mindfulness can help to prevent or to stop the cravings by occupying a part of our mind, which contributes to the development of cravings,” explains Dr Katy Tapper, author of the article and an assistant professor in the Department of psychology, City University of London. The strategies of mindfulness are more effective than alternative strategies, such as visual imagery, this has not yet been demonstrated. However, there is also evidence suggesting that engaging in a regular practice of mindfulness can reduce the extent to which people feel the need to respond to their desires, although other studies are needed to confirm such an effect”.