Studies Examine Effectiveness of Mindfulness Mediation on Addictions

With the growing instances of alcoholism and addictions throughout the nation, scientists continue to try to develop methods of treatment that are safe and effective. The Badger Herald recently reported on an alternative method studied by the University of Wisconsin.

This study tests the effectiveness of Mindfulness Meditation – which is the calm awareness of one’s body and its functions – in the treatment of alcoholism and other addictions.

According to Aleksandra Zgierska, professor of family medicine and lead researcher, she was drawn to this study due to her roots in family medicine. She has witnessed the impact addiction can have on lives of the addict and those around them, especially those living in Wisconsin.

“Clearly, there is a need for development of new therapies to help improve outcomes in alcohol dependence and other addictive disorders,” Zgierska said, citing scientific evidence that shows 60 percent of people who quit their addictions relapse within a year.

Zgierska believes meditation is a perfect therapy to fill this need, especially since mindfulness treatments are proven to be an effective treatment for many triggers of addiction relapse. She believes that conceptually, it is a perfect fit as a therapy for addictions.

A pilot study was conducted by Zgierska in 2008 in which 15 alcohol-dependent adults were given meditation therapy in addition to their other treatments. Subjects participating in the study reported having new tools for dealing with their alcohol cravings. In addition, participants also liked the mediation.

While this is the first published study measuring meditation as a treatment for addiction disorders, many other small and large scale studies have been conducted since.