Tag Archive: self control

  1. Using Mindfulness-Based Treatments in Addiction Recovery

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    adolescent mindfulness training

    Mindfulness is a practice and philosophy that has been used for millennia. Originating in the Himalayan region, mindfulness teaches people to become self-aware. The philosophy teaches that by focusing on moment-to-moment experiences, a person can become aware of their behaviors and emotional reactions. This is helpful because instead of avoiding feelings and urges, a person can name and accept them. Acceptance leads to less self-judgment, and in return, a person has better tools for dealing with cravings or negative emotions.

    Taking part in your child’s recovery is very important. Educating yourself on topics like substances and their effects on children, as well as different treatment programs is vital to their success. While they receive plenty of support from their treatment facilitators, recovery is a 24/7 process. This is why support at home is critical.

    Mindfulness in Youth Addiction Recovery

    Simply put, mindfulness brings a person’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present and is often taught through meditation exercises. There have been many studies on the effects of mindfulness-based treatments in adult populations, but the research of its effects on youth populations is emerging.

    A study conducted in 2009 showed evidence of a positive change in emotional, physical, and behavioral health in children and adolescents. A different study conducted that same year focusing on teens ages 14-18 showed a significant increase in their ability to deal with stress, regulate behavior, and improve their psychological well-being. There are several key aspects of why mindfulness-based treatments are successful when treating addiction in kids.

    These include qualities such as:

    • Reduced impulsiveness
    • Increased ability to accept drug cravings without using
    • Increased perception of risk in drug-use
    • An increased overall sense of well-being

    These skills are essential for helping your child through their recovery process and studies have proven that mindfulness can be used to prevent relapse, as well.

    What the Science Says

    Because mindfulness-based treatment is an emerging practice, there has been a rush by researchers to test its success. While an overwhelming amount of evidence points towards a decrease in drug use, some evidence points to it being a selective treatment; something that is not one-size-fits-all. What research does suggest is that adding mindfulness exercises into a child’s treatment can improve their motivation and decrease their chances of relapse. This can be linked to the patient’s newfound ability to confront their emotions or impulses without judgment and become aware of what triggers their cravings.

    There have been studies conducted specifically on adolescents who are mandated to participate in drug treatment programs. The outcomes are the same. There is a decreased chance of relapse and an increased ability to deal with stressors and impulses. Also, mindfulness practices increase their perceptions of risk from using drugs. Mindfulness works because it presents children with tools they can practice anywhere. Prolonged practice of mindfulness techniques supports long-term success. It provides the child with an internal process of dealing with negative emotions, impulses, or environments.

    Moving Forward

    Researches make a point to discuss a few assumptions about mindfulness-based treatment for youth addiction recovery. First, there is an assumption that counselors and families are interested in applying mindfulness activities to treatment programs. While many programs are being created to combine contemporary treatment programs with mindfulness-based treatments, they are not readily available everywhere. This is something to talk about with your child’s recovery facility. Ask if they are familiar with the practice and if they have any ways of applying it to your child’s treatment.

    The second assumption is that facilities and families have a working knowledge of mindfulness and mindfulness-based treatments. There is no need to be an expert on mindfulness to facilitate the practice with your child. A lot of resources exist online with guides on how to introduce mindfulness to your children and keep them engaged in the practice. This also leads to the assumption that you are willing to take an active role in your child’s recovery.

    The third assumption is that you have knowledge of substance abuse and addiction and their effects on children. Realize that when working with a treatment facility, questions about different types of drugs and their effects will come up. It’s important to prepare yourself by having some knowledge of these topics or knowing where to find it.

    Your child’s treatment facility is a great place to start. Also, many schools have programs on drug education. Talk to your child’s school counselor and ask if they have any literature on common or popular drugs and their effects on children. Remember, taking an active part in your child’s recovery is key to their success.

    To learn more about how mindfulness-based therapy can benefit your child in their recovery, please contact Sustain Recovery today at (949) 407-9052. Our outpatient, intensive outpatient, and residential programs are all built around evidence-based clinical treatment modalities. Our knowledgeable and compassionate staff can help your child begin to lead a happier, healthier life and decrease their chances of relapse.

  2. What is Self Control in Addiction?

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    Is there a way to exercise more self control when in addiction recovery? Are there strategies that an individual can implement to prevent them from relapsing? Yes, there are. There are ways to resist cravings and overcome negative thoughts, and remain in self control when going through a rough patch in recovery.

    How Belief Drives Addiction

    Believing negative thoughts or things can compel substance abuse. If an individual believes that they cannot stop their addictive behavior, or that they have no control over what they do, it is almost certain that they will engage in harmful, addictive behavior. The negative beliefs become excuses. Everyone has voices inside their heads that tell them they cannot do something, or that they cannot stop doing something. It is only true if the individual chooses to believe it. But when the individual practices mindfulness and awareness and tells themselves that they are in total control, their beliefs changes, thus helping them avoid harmful behavior.

    The Difference between Thoughts and Beliefs

    Thoughts are not the same as beliefs. For example, an individual can think all day that they’re a banana, but won’t believe it at the end of the day. Therefore, thinking something and believing something are two different things. When the individual starts believe their thoughts, it makes a difference to their lives. Especially when it comes to addictive behavior, it’s what the individual believes rather than what they think about that makes a difference.

    Changing Beliefs

    Can beliefs be changed? Of course they can be. Individuals change what they believe all the time, when they are presented with new or different information as opposed to what they started out believing. In recovery, the individual must make an effort to start acting in a way that is consistent with different words and thoughts.

    Exerting Self Control

    Outside of emergencies or events that cannot be controlled, it is fair to say that individuals have a lot of self control over what they choose to do. An individual who believes, for example, that not having a drink or a cigarette is more important that having that drink or smoking that cigarette, will choose to do something else, no matter how intense the urge. Self control can be exerted if it is consistent with what the individual believes.

    Tips to Improve Self Control

    1. Planning Ahead – Self control can be strengthened if the individual starts planning ahead for tricky situations, like how to avoid drinking when going to a party. This could mean bringing along a friend to keep the individual focused and in check, or having a response ready when asked about drinking.
    2. Eat – Researchers have found that blood sugar levels can affect the ability to exert self control. Using self control depletes blood sugar levels, so keeping a small snack at hand and ensuring a balanced diet will go a long way towards being in control.
    3. Exercise – This seems to be a cure all. The benefits of exercise are seemingly endless. A healthy body appears to have a powerful impact on the mind. Regular exercise has been shown to improve willpower in all areas of an individual’s lives, including drinking, smoking and drug addiction.

    Sustain Recovery provides a unique approach to adolescent care with our extended residence programs. Adolescents are given the life skills required for their transition to sober living. Contact us to learn about how our programs can benefit you.

The people at Sustain Recovery are truly passionate about their work. They put all their love, energy and spiritual strength in to it. They continue to support me today as I continue my ongoing journey in my personal recovery. I now have over a year of sobriety, my own apartment, a job, true friends and a support network that is always available to me. Although all that stuff is great, what matters most today is that I love myself and have the ability to love others. Thank you to all who had a hand and heart in Sustain Recovery

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