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Can meditation help treat addiction?

by Dr. Kathleen Hall

Karstin, The Journal of Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly and the International Journal of the Addictions report that meditation can decrease cigarette, alcohol, and drug abuse. An analysis of 198 independent treatment outcomes hound that meditation produced a significantly larger reduction in tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use than either standard substance abuse treatments (including counseling, pharmacological treatments, relaxation training, and Twelve Step programs) or prevention programs (such as programs to counteract peer pressure and promote personal development). Whereas, the effects of conventional programs typically decreased sharply by three months, effects of meditation on total abstinence from tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs ranged from 50 percent to 89 percent over a 18- to 22-month period of study.

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