A Mindful Test

Can you spot the intricacies differentiating identical twins? Or hear the sounds of the wind whistling between a concert and conversation you’re involved in? If not, mindfulness training can help.

Mindfulness-based treatments blend Buddhist techniques within cognitive therapy to help patients reach a higher level of conscious awareness. Those with lower states of consciousness levels tend to spend more time in circular thought than experiencing the world.

Though these therapies demonstrate efficacy in treating clinical symptoms and frequently elicit sudden gains for patients, little about specific factors leading to mindfulness progression is known. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology analyzes 93 patients participating in an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) course in order to learn more about its healing power.

The study analyzed substance abuse patients with between-session practice after outpatient treatment and assessed the impact of taking mindfulness home and practicing in between sessions. Doctors analyzed patients directly following treatment as well as at 2-months and 4-months post.

Sarah Bowden, Ph.D., who works at the University of California in San Diego’s Center for Mindfulness, co-authored this study. She explains that the “findings suggest that between-session practice and therapeutic alliance might be important factors in the initial increases in mindfulness after mindfulness-based treatments, but factors supporting longer-term mindfulness might shift over time.”

Practice yielded increased awareness at completion, though the effects dissipating moving forward. Mindfulness associated with client-rated therapeutic alliance lasted a few months longer.

Although the subtleties of mindfulness are not yet known, its effects have aided many patients with anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and other mental health issues. Speak with a health practitioner about mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.  

It is estimated that over 18 million adults in the United States suffer from alcohol addiction. Alcoholism is defined as the continued use of alcohol despite the use causing negative effects towards one's health, work performance, family life, or personal safety.

The reasons behind alcoholism are myriad, with psychological (stress, depression, anxiety) and physiological (physical addiction, withdrawal symptoms) reasons often working in concert. The mainstay of treatment for alcoholism is outpatient or inpatient rehabilitation, followed by 12-step support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

There are several different types of medications available that can also reduce cravings (Campral, Revia, Antabuse), as well as medications used to treat withdrawal (Librium, Valium, Ativan, Serax).

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