Epidemiological studies strongly suggested that yoga intervention may have positive and therapeutic effects for treatment of illicit substance abuse.
Yoga, the ancient practical technique for harmonized external and internal body well beings, through breath control, meditation, bodily movement and gesture..... has been best known for people in Western world and some parts in Asia due to health benefits reported by various respectable institutes' research and supported by health advocates.
The review of literature published online of database from January 1980 to January 2009 to evaluate the effects of yoga in patients with addictive disorders, based on the standard criteria and guidelines, suggested that yoga intervention exhibited some differential improvement across conditions which were maintained during follow-up, including psychiatric symptoms, particularly in the level of perceived stress, as well as improved mental state of substance abusers to accept unusual physical sensations, thus reducing from a strong urge and act impulsively.
In deed, the reduced temptation and impulsive act of substance abusers to reach for illicit substance can be attributed to yoga relaxation and meditation intervention in induced harmonization of the body and mind in feelings of peace and comfort to deal with increased addictive temptation and to cop and tolerate the uncomfortable feelings and physical sensations that can lead to relapse.
Some researchers suggested that the developing positive relationship with physical sensation is one of the reason to facilitate the calmness and relaxation in bringing one's attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, while letting go of them or deal them in a positive way, thus reducing the urge for sedatives, pain relievers, amphetamines, and alcohol.
In the aspect of hormonal imbalance caused by stress induced anxiety disorders, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder and substance abuse, yoga intervention expressed a significant effect in reduced stress through mediation and relaxation by calming the mind and body through reduced tension of CNS. Without influence of stress, hormone balancing was automatically restored, particularly in secretion of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
Dr. Skanavi S, the led author said, " Practice of mindfulness may develop the ability to maintain perspective in response to strong emotional states and mood fluctuations and increase the saliency of natural reinforcers. Mindfulness based programs require an intensive participation, and should therefore be proposed to highly motivated patients".
Truly, yoga mindfulness enhanced the relaxation of calmness state to improve participant desire to control the circumstances while building physical strength, endurance, and psychological awareness in time of stress and sadness...... to face the presence directly in a new way.
Furthermore, the study also indicated that the above treatment have been proven in some well-designed clinical trials and experimental laboratory studies on smoking, alcohol dependence, and illicit substance use, but preventing addiction was lack.
Dr. Khanna S, the led author said, " ....better understand what types of yoga and mindfulness-based interventions work best for what types of addiction, what types of patients, and under what conditions".
Based on the information in analysis, the study also emphasized that yoga mindfulness may be used as integrated form of intervention to reduced both psychological and physical aspects in patients with illicit substance abuse, especially in reduced the impulsive urge of temptation.
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(1) [Mindfulness based interventions for addictive disorders: a review].[Article in French] by Skanavi S1, Laqueille X, Aubin HJ.(PubMed)
(2) Mindfulness-based treatment to prevent addictive behavior relapse: theoretical models and hypothesized mechanisms of change by Witkiewitz K1, Bowen S, Harrop EN, Douglas H, Enkema M, Sedgwick C.(PubMed)
(3) A narrative review of yoga and mindfulness as complementary therapies for addiction by Khanna S1, Greeson JM.(PubMed)