According to a study published in Science Daily, “People suffering from opioid addiction and chronic pain may have fewer cravings and less pain if they use both mindfulness techniques and medication for opioid dependence.” Practicing mindfulness is said to increase self-awareness and self-control, therefore allowing those to curb their cravings as well as be less affected by emotional and physical pain.
Opioids are commonly known as painkillers that are prescribed to treat mild to medium discomfort to severe and chronic pain. Some of the most commonly prescribed opioids include oxycodone, fentanyl, buprenorphine, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine. Opioids can change the brain’s chemistry and overtime a tolerance builds up. An opioid addiction occurs when the urge for the opioids occurs even after pain has diminished and they experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug. Opioid abuse is rampant across the world and opioid addiction has reached epidemic proportions.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a psychological practice that focuses one’s awareness on the present moment, and letting thoughts pass through consciousness without judgement. Many people equate mindfulness with meditation and use the terms interchangeably, but mindfulness can be practiced on a daily basis, on your drive to work, while exercising or even while washing dishes.
Mindfulness is all about being aware of your thoughts, feelings, behavior and sensations at any given moment. As explained by Thrive Global, “Mindfulness is the awareness of “some-thing,” while meditation is the awareness of “no-thing.” People can set aside a designated amount of time to meditate, where they can be still and focus on attaining a state of consciousness.
Mindfulness and Methadone
Methadone, which is a medication used to treat opioid addiction, along with mindfulness is said to be the most effective because although patients are more aware of their cravings, they are more apt to be in control of cravings, stress and pain. Being aware of their cravings without self-imposing judgment decreases the severity of the craving. Mindfulness also helps change negative thought patterns and to observe and enjoy pleasant moments.
Holistic Therapy For Pain Management
Other alternative therapies that treat opioid dependence include acupuncture, aromatherapy, massage therapy, chiropractic therapy yoga, and other therapies. Although mindfulness may not solely cure opioid use disorder, the practice along with other forms of therapy are effective.
It’s important for those with opioid abuse disorder seek treatment at a professional facility immediately. Once a patient has medically assisted detoxed and entered treatment, they can then work mindfulness into their recovery journey.