Overcoming opiate addiction can prove daunting. Thankfully, there is a revolutionary way that can easily help patients who suffer from dependency to kick the habit and live a normal, healthy life. The method is called mindfulness training, and its objective is to help a patient recognize and examine cravings as well as derive greater pleasure from everyday things and events.
How Mindfulness Training Works
There is a rising body of research corroborating the findings of psychotherapists from the University of Utah that mindfulness training is indeed a very effective treatment for the problem of opioid addiction. While it is a new area of research, there have been well-controlled experiments and groundbreaking discoveries to show that mindfulness training is really an elixir to opioid addiction.
If someone pops pain pills each time they experience a bout of pain, and the use of the opioids gets out of hand, one way to remedy the problem is to teach the patient to practice what is known as mindful breathing before ingesting any opioid medicine. This means that whenever the person is about to pop the opioids, they pause, and concentrate on their breathing. When they stop to concentrate on their breathing, they are then able to take note of their feelings, thoughts, and urges. And of course, they’ll notice the desire to take the pain medicine.
This process will then help the patient to examine if they are popping the pill due to a genuine need to alleviate pain or they are merely giving in to a craving. If the patient realizes that their taking of the pill is due to an urge to satisfy a craving, the patient can then consult his doctor to see if the doctor can help. The doctor may decide to help by gradually decreasing the patient’s opioid dosage.
However, take note that it is not advisable for a dependent patient to abruptly stop his dosage of opioids. He needs to consult with the doctor before reducing the dosage.
As always, once a dependent person starts to decrease his intake of opioids following a doctor’s advice, he may begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms or cravings. Mindfulness techniques will come in handy during this process to help the patient cope with unpleasant sensations in their body as well as the disturbing emotions in their mind. One such technique that can help a patient endure the unpleasant thoughts and feelings at this time is mindful savoring.
How Mindful Savoring Can Help Opioid Dependents Cope
Mindful savoring is the use of your attention and awareness to derive maximum pleasure from the surroundings and everyday events. Mindful savoring teaches people how to concentrate on the best aspects of life, so they live a more meaningful and joyful life. For example, patients can be taught to concentrate on a wreath of flowers. They take in every aspect of the flower- for example, the colors, scents, and the feel of the flower’s petals against their skin. While doing this, they will begin having beautiful sensations in their brain and body. These beautiful sensations will then become the focus of mindfulness practice. Thus, the patient is encouraged to focus on positive feelings that come up.
A patient can practice this technique alone at home, or he can do it in session with a therapist. However, it is strongly recommended that a patient works with a licensed therapist, more so at the beginning of the process. And when the patient repeats this over time, the yearning for opiates is rendered weaker and weaker.