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Meditation & Withdrawal-Giving Yourself Tools for Detox

What to Expect From A Detox

While the experience of each person is different as they detox, some common symptoms often occur and can make breaking the reliance on a substance challenging. The overarching term used when patients are slowly weaned off the substances they are using is referred to as withdrawal. 

The experience of withdrawal will not only depend on the individual, but also on factors such as how long the person has been using a substance, how much they are using, as well as their general physical and mental health status. 

Withdrawal can be both psychological and physical. Some of the most common psychological symptoms of substance withdrawal include anxiety, depression, paranoia, agitation, and the inability to concentrate. 

Physical symptoms of withdrawal include digestive issues such as vomiting, nausea and diarrhea, cramps, increased blood pressure, vivid dreams, insomnia, sweating, shivering, and/or shaking. 

Some particularly serious withdrawal symptoms can occur during detox, including seizures, hallucinations, and delirium. That is why it's always best to detox under the care of a professional facility. 

Mentally & Physically Take Care of Yourself During Withdrawal

Due to the challenging nature of the symptoms of withdrawal, taking care of your physical and mental health when in detox is crucial. Indeed, as taking care of your mental and physical well-being makes withdrawal symptoms easier to cope with, it also increases your chances of long-term success. 

The good news is there are plenty of things you can do to help take care of your physical and mental well-being during the detox process. 

Physical Ways to Care For Yourself During Detox 

The things you can do to take care of your physical well-being during the detox process include:

  • Eating well 
  • Getting support from a qualified medical professional, including medication if needed
  • Exercise 
  • Stay hydrated 
  • Get plenty of sleep 

Psychological Ways To Care For Yourself During Detox 

The things you can do to take care of your psychological well-being during the detox process include: 

  • Counseling/therapy with a qualified professional 
  • Journalling 
  • Identify ways in which you can live by your values 
  • Joining a peer support group 
  • Gratitude practice 
  • Meditation 

How Can Meditation Help Those Going Through Detox?

Mediation can be very helpful for those experiencing the symptoms of withdrawal, both physically and mentally. 

What Is Meditation?

Meditation can both be described as a practice and as a state of consciousness that is unlike regular consciousness. There are a wide range of different types of meditations including mindfulness meditations, zen meditations, and transcendental meditation. Then there are the different forms of moving meditations such as Yoga and Tai Chi. Indeed, one of the great things about meditation is that there are so many different options, you are bound to be able to find one that works for you.  

How Does Meditation Work?

One of the unifying features of many of the different types of meditations is that they help the individual to focus on the present moment without judgment, and without getting too caught up on what their mind is saying or the feelings in their body. 

Of course, this can be a particularly helpful skill for those in addiction recovery treatment as it can help them get some distance from their cravings and withdrawals. Practicing meditation in this way can help enhance therapy practices like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), that is used in addiction recovery treatment. 

What Are the Specific Benefits of Meditation for Those in Addiction Recovery?

The practice of mediation in particular can be very helpful for those experiencing the symptoms of withdrawal both physically and mentally, as its many benefits include: 

  • Reduced Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS) - help cope with the more persistent withdrawal symptoms associated with detox from benzodiazepines
  • Reduced depression and anxiety (including social anxiety)
  • Reduces stress
  • Improved mood
  • Reduced PTSD and ADHD symptoms
  • Emotional stability
  • Decreased insomnia
  • Increased psychological flexibility
  • Reduced risk of relapse

Additional Benefits Of Mediation 

In addition to the specific positive benefits that practicing meditation can provide, other benefits are relevant for those on the path to addiction recovery. For instance, studies have shown that meditation can help improve psychological functioning and reduce cortisol, the stress hormone as well. 

This is important because a person that is less stressed may be able to avoid or more successfully manage the triggers that have in the past caused them to misuse substances. 

Mediation can also have a positive impact on the Amygdala, which is the area of the brain that is involved in anxiety and fear. By managing these feelings, meditation can make the path to recovery that much easier. 

How Meditation Therapy Can Help With Withdrawal Symptoms 

Meditation can be a very useful skill to practice during withdrawal for several reasons. The first is that it can help ground the individual which can improve mood, reduce anxiety, and also help with sleep issues such as vivid dreaming and insomnia. 

Meditation can also help teach the individual to distance themselves from their thoughts, and not judge them as they occur. This is very useful for anyone going through withdrawal, as they are likely to experience many thoughts they do not wish to act on concerning using the substance they are looking to give up. 

Lastly, meditation can be especially useful for those experiencing withdrawal because of the dopamine crash that is often associated with this experience. This dopamine crash can lead to a particularly low mood, trouble concentrating, and physical exhaustion. Mediation can be a gentle and compassionate way for the person experiencing this to get through it, especially as meditation often emphasizes the impermanent nature of thoughts and feelings while providing a reminder to the mediator that in even their most challenging moments, “this too shall pass.” 

To learn more about successful meditation management methods, or to speak with a specialist about addiction, detox, or a mental health disorder, contact a Jackson House Rehabilitation Center for more help.

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