Centers Are Using Yoga When Treating Opiate Addiction

We expect medical science to make leaps and bounds during our lifetime. Somewhere in a lab, we imagine, is a researcher doing their best to cure opiate addiction. And, yes, there have been advances in opiate treatments recently. The most prominent is the approval of opiate addiction treatment medication buprenorphine in 2002. But, it isn’t just to the future that opiate addiction treatment facilities are looking. They are also exploring treatment approaches that date back centuries. Yoga is just such a method, and its popularity is growing among rehab practitioners and patients.

What Is Yoga?

The Hindu philosophy of yoga, according to an article in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, dates back to the second century B.C. It is based on the eight limbs of Ashtang yoga:

  • Yamas: ethical disciplines
  • Niyamas individual observances
  • Asana: posture
  • Pranayama: breath control
  • Pratyahara: withdrawal of senses
  • Dharana: concentration
  • Dhyana: meditation
  • Samadhi: self-realization or enlightenment

Even though most western practitioners focus only on the postures and meditation, the limbs as a whole are ethical principles one can follow to live a meaningful and purposeful life, which is what people in opiate addiction treatment are yearning to do.

What Are Some Benefits of Yoga?

Experts recommend that practitioners use an integrated practice that addresses exercise, meditation, and spiritual practice to achieve the most benefit, as practicing as a form of exercise is not as advantageous. Benefits include:

  • Increased sensory awareness
  • Present-focused attention
  • Physiological relaxation
  • Enhanced concentration
  • Changed understanding and concept of the self
  • Greater functional connectivity of the brain

Does It Really Work?

There a lot of scientific studies that link treating opiate addiction with yoga. Neuroscience data, for instance, shows that yoga targets numerous brain regions, and the connections that link them, that promote addictive behavior. So, it is determined yoga can attend to the spiritual, physical, and psychological aspects relevant to addiction, which is why so many opiate addiction treatment programs are turning to it when treating opiate addiction.

Treating Opiate Addiction in an Opiate Addiction Treatment Program Is Something You Can’t Do Alone

Opiate addiction fill your head with shame, guilt, and doubt. It can make your mind a scary place to visit and something you can’t escape. This can cause people to draw inward, fearing confronting these emotions in their social interactions, something that would substantiate the negative thought process in their head.

As an opiate abuser, you understand this all too well. It’s cyclical, you may turn to substances because you are lonely and those substances, in turn, further isolate you. But, there are steps you can take to break the cycle.

Give Your Self Time to Grieve the Loss of Opiate and Other Substances

When you are actively using opiates, they function as one of your closest friends, if not your best friend. They are the only consistent thing in your state of isolation. Therefore, it’s natural to feel angry and lonely when they are removed from your life in opiate addiction treatment. Remember that the friendship you had with them was damaging and give yourself time to come to terms with your feelings about their loss.

Be Selective About Who You Connect With

When you are treating opiate addiction in rehab, you will start to come out of your isolation and you will feel a driving urge to connect with others. Be sure that you are interacting with people who truly want the best for you. You have to cut out any negative influences and that means breaking ties with anyone who contributed to your using. Don’t let them visit and don’t call them or write them letters while you are in opiate addiction treatment.

Diversify How You Spend Your Time

The more activities you participate in while you are in rehab, the more people you will encounter, which is important because getting in a comfortable rut guides you back to old behaviors. Make the most of treating opiate addiction and continue stretching yourself to do more when you are released.

Opiate Addiction Treatment Programs Are Using Equine to Help Patients

One of the most innovative and effective methods for treating opiate addiction, equine therapy addresses a wide variety of therapeutic needs. Participants explore the relationship patterns and behaviors that have grown to be problematic in their daily lives by interacting with horses and equine therapists. Based on their large size and their strength alone, these animals can wake up emotions patients have deeply buried, while they give participants a chance to name and resolve matters of communication, interpersonal respect and empathy. This is why is is becoming more common in opiate addiction treatment.

How Does Equine Therapy Help?

Advocates of this approach believe opiate addiction issues are the result of biological and historical problems and these issues impact multiple aspects of the addict’s life.  Interactions with horses point to behavior and though t patterns that are linked to the issues that bring a patient to treatment. The therapist works with this person to identify these patterns and creates specialized experiential exercises to address patient needs.

What Sorts of Issues Can Be Addressed?

Therapeutic issues that are frequently dealt with in equine therapy include:

  • Fear of inadequacy
  • Past trauma and rejections
  • Needs for nurturing, support, and protection
  • Disordered sense of self or complete lack of personal identity
  • Paralysis in the face of decision making

Treating opiate addiction in this way can also address concurrent disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder and personality disorders as well.

What Are the Benefits of Equine Therapy?

Through interactions with horses and the help of an equine therapist, clients learn about:

  • Addiction recovery
  • Personal integrity
  • Self-worth
  • Effective communication
  • Establishment and evaluation of healthy relationships
  • Aggressiveness v. assertiveness
  • Healing from trauma
  • The value of respect and trust in relationships

Programs that use equine therapy are more rare than traditional opiate addiction treatment options and other cure for marijuana addictions. You may have to go out-of-state or consider a luxury treatment program. Be sure to weigh the perceived benefit against the costs.

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