Mindfulness & Mental Health: A Powerful Combination For Addiction Recovery

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Addiction is a critical issue that affects millions of people around the world. Whether it’s drugs, alcohol, gambling, or any other form of addiction, it can profoundly impact an individual’s mental and physical health, relationships, and overall quality of life. While traditional approaches to addiction recovery, such as medication and therapy, can be practical, there is increasing evidence that mindfulness practices can be a powerful tool in addiction recovery. This article will explore the relationship between mindfulness and mental health and how they can be used together to support addiction recovery.

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is being fully present and aware in the moment, without judgment or distraction. It involves paying attention to the present moment, including your thoughts, feelings, and sensations, in a non-judgmental way. Mindfulness practices can include meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, and other techniques that help individuals develop greater awareness and control over their thoughts and emotions.

At Launch Centers, a leading addiction treatment center in Los Angeles, we recognize the critical role that mindfulness practices and mental health support can play in addiction recovery.

The Role Of Mindfulness In Addiction Recovery

Negative emotions like anxiety, stress, and depression often fuel addiction. Mindfulness can help individuals develop the skills and awareness to manage these emotions rather than using drugs or alcohol to numb or escape them. Mindfulness practices can also help individuals develop a greater sense of self-awareness, which can help them identify triggers and other patterns that may lead to relapse.

Research has shown that mindfulness-based interventions can effectively reduce substance use, decrease cravings, and improve mental health outcomes in individuals struggling with addiction. These interventions may include mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP), and other mindfulness-based approaches explicitly adapted for addiction recovery.

Mindfulness Practices

  • Eat Healthily – Mindful eating can be incredibly beneficial for addiction recovery and overall well-being. Substance use disorders often lead to disregarding diet, causing malnutrition. Rather than mindlessly consuming food, stay present, appreciate the flavors, and savor each bite.
  • Practice Mind-Body Activities – According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), mindfulness can be a lifestyle choice that leads to successful recovery, and medication should not be relied on as a crutch. Mind-body exercises have been shown to reduce stress, improve sleep patterns, and minimize chronic pain. These exercises, such as tai chi, yoga, and qigong, are forms of moving meditation that can improve overall health and be practiced by anyone.
  • Keep a Journal – Some therapists encourage patients to keep a journal to track their feelings and things they are grateful for. By doing so, patients can see what they appreciate in life and identify what prevents them from appreciating it. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), journaling can improve mental health by reducing intrusive thoughts, suppressing negative thoughts, and enhancing memory. It also helps simplify and organize thoughts logically.
  • Practice Meditation – Gaëlle Desborders, a neuroscientist and radiology instructor at Harvard, used magnetic images of brain scans to demonstrate the benefits of meditation. The study involved teaching participants how to meditate for two months, focusing on breathing and heartbeat to be present and mindful of their thoughts. The results showed that meditation can reduce intrusive thoughts and that brain activity remains steady even when not meditating.
  • Make Art – Making art is another great way to practice mindfulness. Engaging in activities that force your mind to process and focus on present feelings can resolve anxiety, depression, and stress. Recovery is a tough road to travel along. The road takes patients through peaks and valleys, even after treatment. Staying present and resilient can help individuals stay sober.
  • Exercise Mindfully – NAMI recommends exercising for at least 20 minutes daily to boost mental well-being. Mindfulness is useful in addiction recovery by being present during exercise and focusing on sensations and surroundings. By doing so, recovering addicts can stay grounded and release endorphins, which improve mood.
  • Practice Forest Bathing – Forest bathing, also known as shinrin-yoku, involves visiting a forest to stay in the present moment and use your senses to fully experience the forest, including sounds, smells, and colors. This ancient Japanese practice is effective partly because Americans spend around 93% of their time indoors.
Gaëlle Desborders, a neuroscientist and radiology instructor at Harvard, used magnetic images of brain scans to demonstrate the benefits of meditation.

How Mental Health & Mindfulness Work Together In Addiction Recovery

While mindfulness practices can effectively support addiction recovery, it’s essential to recognize that addiction is a complex issue that often requires a multifaceted approach to treatment. Mental health professionals can be crucial in providing comprehensive care that addresses the underlying psychological and emotional factors contributing to addiction.

By integrating mindfulness practices into traditional addiction treatment approaches, mental health professionals can help individuals develop the skills and awareness to manage their emotions and cravings while addressing any underlying mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, that may fuel addiction. This integrative approach can help individuals develop a more holistic understanding of their addiction and provide them with the tools they need to find lasting recovery.

Mental health professionals can be crucial in providing comprehensive care that addresses the underlying psychological and emotional factors contributing to addiction.

Addiction Recovery At Launch Centers

At Launch Centers, a leading addiction treatment center in Los Angeles, we recognize the critical role that mindfulness practices and mental health support can play in addiction recovery. Our holistic approach to treatment incorporates a range of evidence-based interventions, including mindfulness-based practices, therapy, and medication management, to provide our clients with comprehensive care that addresses their unique needs and challenges. Suppose your love is struggling with addiction. We help you to reach out to us to learn more about our programs and how we can support your journey to recovery.

About Our Founder

Jose Hernandez, for over a decade, has been involved in alcohol and addiction recovery helping people succeed in overcoming substance abuse and regaining control of their lives. He has experience in all aspects of the recovery world, from facilitating entry into treatment as an intervention specialist to counseling and case management at rehabilitation facilities. Jose has worked one-on-one with individuals as a sober companion and with groups as a resident counselor at addiction treatment centers and is certified by the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) to practice as a substance abuse counselor.

Through his professional experiences in crisis intervention, drug and alcohol detoxification, substance abuse counseling, and relapse prevention, Jose has developed a unique plan for case management that bridges the gap between a person’s painful past of substance abuse and a future of sobriety.

At Riviera Recovery, a sober living facility with multiple locations, clients continue their transition from the supportive environment of a treatment center to living well and happily in the “real” world. The program he designed at Riviera Recovery personalizes treatment plans that enable clients, including those with a single or dual-diagnosed mental health disorder, to embrace a satisfying life.

His greatest endeavor has been establishing LAUNCH, a Los Angeles-based life skills intensive outpatient program for young adults. LAUNCH works with recovering men and women to establish personal vocational and educational goals and develop the tools to successfully meet them. His mission is to ensure that no one stands alone in his or her recovery.

Meet Our Clinical Team

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Jess Beck, LCSW

Clinical Director

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Eric Chaghouri, MD

Psychiatrist

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Chloe Kruskol, LCSW

Family Program Manager

MEET FULL TEAM
Our Testimonials

Clients and Professionals Share Their Experience

  • HO

    Launch provided care on multiple levels. The highly skilled therapist coupled with the focus on purpose and long-term goals refocused my recovery from what previous treatment centers pushed onto me. I went from believing that I needed years of treatment to believing I needed years happiness and success. I began to focus on what I wanted to accomplish with my life. I came to realize all the things my addiction and mental illness had taken from me, and I used my future goals as a reason to never pick up again. Due to the passion that Launch instilled in me, I have pursued my future with excitement and dedication.

  • Nicole

    This place changed my life! I’ve had good laughs, good cries, shared a lot of heart to heart moments and grew a loving bond with everyone at Launch Centers. I will always be grateful!!! I really do miss it time to time. I highly recommend Launch Centers!

  • Joey

    The staff and clinicians are amazing and make you feel right at home from the second you walk in the door. I would absolutely recommend this place for a family member or close friend.

  • Ben

    This treatment facility has changed my life. I have always struggled with my mental health and this young adult program provided me with the necessary skills to launch to adulthood. I commend anyone who struggles with mental health or substance use (which was not me) to try this program out. It will change your life.

  • Conner

    Launch Centers Treatment was a major help to me. The therapists and staff genuinely cared about me and truly helped me to make a plan for my future. My personal therapists helped me to discover where some of my deeper issues came from. All of the staff worked tirelessly with me to talk through my issues, or just about life, and offered realistic solutions to my current problems and situation. All of the staff went above and beyond and advocated relentlessly for me. I am very grateful that I was able to have such a wonderful experience with Launch.

  • Adam

    In no uncertain terms Launch Centers changed my life. The staff at Launch are professional, knowledgable and relatable. They keep the format diverse and interesting which kept me engaged in the process. The greatest thing we can do in life is seek to improve ourselves. Launch gave me a skill set I consider to be invaluable in the journey of becoming the best version of myself. I would implore anybody considering Launch to step outside their comfort zone and go, you will not regret it.

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