Mindfulness in Addiction Treatment

Mindfulness Meditation:
Addiction Rehab and Recovery Tool


Mindfulness Meditation in addiction treatment is more than just a good idea. As more individuals and corporations are beginning to practice mindfulness meditation – the question of meditation effectiveness is important.

A Harvard study on mindfulness completed in 2011, Eight Weeks to a Better Brain, is now getting a second look.

The Harvard University study did MRI scans on two groups of people. Then over the course of the next eight weeks, one group practiced a series of mindfulness exercises an average of 27 minutes per day; the other group did not meditate.

‘Mindfulness meditation … appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress’.

Mindfulness Used in Addiction Rehab at Arrowhead Lodge Recovery

At Arrowhead Lodge Recovery, Mindfulness Training is a critical element in our addiction recovery for men.

Mindfulness has been proven to help the brain restore itself to optimal functioning. It is also associated with better client improvements while in treatment.

Recent research and studies prove the value of mindfulness in brain function. Mindfulness produces measurable stress reduction and improved recovery outcomes with fewer relapses.

Meditation Found to Heal Addiction Damage to Brain

In an NIH Report published in 2005¹, Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness, researchers discovered that the more meditation is practiced, the thicker the brain becomes in the mid-­prefrontal cortex.

The mid-­prefrontal cortex is an area damaged from substance abuse. The brain’s reward center is found in the mid-­insular region of the brain. Meditation actually helps the way thinks occurs – which then causes changes in the brain.

Even beginners who meditate as little as four hours a week can achieve and sustain a state of mindfulness that leads to a more peaceful and serene state of mind.

The report states: “Regular practice of meditation is reported to produce changes in mental states…that persist beyond the time period of regular practice.” The report concludes with: “Our initial results suggest that mediation may be associated with structural changes in areas of the brain that are important for sensory, cognitive and emotional processing.”

Mindfulness Mediation Reduces Stress and Intrusive Thoughts

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery, Rehab for Men, Meditation TrainingIn another study², two groups of alcoholics in long-­term treatment were studied to determine the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation training. One group’s treatment plan included mindfulness meditation while the second group’s treatment plan did not.

After ten weeks, researchers found that those who practiced mindfulness mediation experienced significantly greater stress reduction. Meditators experienced less frequency of alcohol related thought disruption than those who participated in a support group alone.

Modern Hyper Mode Living + Addiction = High Stress, Anxiety

The average adult in our society is bombarded with an incredible amount of data, whether from email, texting, gaming or other electronic inputs. Add a substance addiction to this modern day fact of life, and you have brain functions that are compromised by years of substance abuse coupled with a mind that is in hyper mode. This results in high levels of stress and anxiety and decrease in cognitive functions. Mindfulness meditation is a natural solution that improves the brain’s cognitive functions while decreasing symptoms of stress and anxiety.

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery Mindfulness Program

Arrowhead-Lodge-Recovery-Mens-Rehab-Recovery, Meditation in Addiction RecoveryAt Arrowhead Lodge Recovery, we teach our clients simple breath work early in their treatment experience. This helps immediately reduce symptoms of anxiety in the client.

We also educate our clients regarding basic brain physiology and function. Psychoeducation for recovery is an integral part of our recovery program.

Our clients not only understand the devastating effects of addiction in their brains, they also understand how meditation and mindfulness restore their brain to normal functioning levels; while quieting the busy mind. The result is a sense of calm, well-being and hope for a life free from their chemical addiction.

We have seen our clients improve in many ways during their course of treatment as the result of this integrated approach. Clients at our men’s rehab are more present in Individual and group therapy; and interact better with others. They become less anxious and less interested in engaging in their addiction.

In short: Mindfulness assists our clients in getting better, faster. By including mindfulness meditation in our program, we help our clients experience firsthand the benefits of living sober.

Mindfulness Works – If You Work It

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery, Rehab for Men, Boomer Addiction RecoveryIt goes without saying that clients must be well motivated for change and be willing to discipline themselves to engage in mindfulness meditation daily. Clients who are less mature may not appreciate the discipline required for mindfulness meditation to be effective. More mature clients appear more inclined to practice the techniques on their own and therefore improve more quickly.

If you, or a loved one, have a problem with substance abuse, we encourage you to seek out a treatment provider who incorporates brain function education and mindfulness mediation in their curriculum.

How to Get Help for Addiction  

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery provides residential treatment for adult men who suffer from alcoholism and/or drug addiction; as well as treatment for co-occurring disorders, trauma, grief and loss. By including mindfulness meditation in our program, we help our clients experience firsthand the benefits of living sober.

Addiction Rehab and Core Recovery at Arrowhead Lodge Recovery

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery, Boomer Men's Rehab, Prescott AZArrowhead Lodge Recovery is a gender specific rehab for men, ages 30 and older, located in the beautiful mountains of Prescott, Arizona. We have chosen to keep our facility small and staff to client ratio large. Each client receives individual therapy and counseling; as well as group therapy and counseling.

We provide addiction and depression treatment for men who suffer from alcoholism; as well as treating co-occurring disorders, trauma, grief and loss

We use a multi-disciplinary addiction treatment approach implemented by licensed professionals. The Arrowhead Lodge Recovery Staff includes a Physician-Addictionologist, Addiction Psychiatrist, Doctor of Clinical Psychology, Registered Nurse, several Licensed Therapists, and an addiction Nutritionist.

Mindfulness training, healthy exercise, nutritional counseling and education, cognitive behavioral therapy and psychoeducation are a part of our treatment program.

Addiction Recovery Journey to Wholeness and Healing

Arrowhead Lodge Recovery, Mens Rehab, Thumb Butte Trail

At our mountain retreat facility near Prescott, Arizona – men find and strengthen inner peace, and experience tranquility.

We equip our clients with the depth and stability to handle all the curves and disappointments – as well as joys – in their regular daily lives once they leave Arrowhead Lodge Recovery.

Start your journey to alcohol recovery by contacting Arrowhead Lodge Recovery.

Your confidentiality is assured when you contact us.

Speak personally and privately with Executive Director Dr. Kenneth Chance at 888-654-2800.


¹ “Meditation Experience is Associated with Increased Cortical Thickness” NeuroReport 16:1893-­‐1897, 2005, Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins.
²  Research on Mindfulness and Substance Use, Mindfulness Relapse Prevention, Sara Bowen, Ph.D., Neha Chawla, Ph.D., Joel Grow, MS.


Harvard MRI Study Evidence of Meditation’s Cognitive Benefits
Spiritual Experiences Activate Brain Reward Systems
How Addiction Hijacks the Brain – Mindfulness Restores Sobriety
New Study Mindfulness Meditation Reduces Pain
Mindfulness Meditation and The 10th Step

Brief Summary of Mindfulness Research by Greg Flaxman and Lisa Flook, Ph.D.

This post was originally published Mar 23, 2014 and has been updated.