Alcoholism Swami Atma Gyanam by YogaClicks


About

Because yoga, mindfulness and meditation create new healthy habits in mind, body, and spirit they can help tackle the physical, mental and spiritual challenges of alcoholism.

These practices can be particularly helpful in coping with the stressful early days of recovery because they are built around the importance of taking things one day at a time, one step at a time. They also promote a ‘can-do’ attitude – that you, and your body, are capable of anything you put your mind to.

People suffering from alcohol addiction tend to be uncomfortable in their own skin. Practicing physical postures (asana) helps you rebuild your physical strength and puts you back in touch with your body. Meditation and mindfulness also help the practitioner bring their attention back to the present moment, focusing the mind away from alcohol, and towards clarity and peace.

Clinical studies point towards these practices' ability to alleviate depression and reduce stress, to reduce alcohol consumption and increase physiological recovery.

Also see Drug addiction


What the clinical studies say

Yoga
  • Alleviates depression
  • Reduction in stress hormone levels
  • Stress reduction
Meditation
  • Reduces alcohol consumption (heavy social drinkers only)
Mindfulness
  • Increases physiological recovery from alcohol cues
  • Modulates alcohol attentional bias (the tendency of our perception to be affected by our recurring thoughts)
  • Stress reduction

The clinical studies

Antidepressant efficacy and hormonal effects of Sudarshana Kriya Yoga (SKY) in alcohol dependent individuals
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

Background:

Sudarshana Kriya Yoga (SKY) has demonstrable antidepressant effects. SKY was tested for this effect in inpatients of alcohol dependence.

Methods:

Following a week of detoxification management consenting subjects (n = 60) were equally randomized to receive SKY therapy or not (controls) for a two-week study. SKY therapy included alternate day practice of specified breathing exercise under supervision of a trained therapist. Subjects completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) before and after the two weeks of this intervention. Morning plasma cortisol, ACTH and prolactin too were measured before and at the end of two weeks.

Results:

In both groups reductions in BDI scores occurred but significantly more so in SKY group. Likewise, in both groups plasma cortisol as well as ACTH fell after two weeks but significantly more so in SKY group. Reduction in BDI scores correlated with that in cortisol in SKY but not in control group. Limitations: Antidepressant effects of SKY were demonstrated in early abstinence that also had substantial spontaneous improvement. It is not known if this effect contributes to sustained abstinence.

Conclusion:

Results extend the antidepressant effects of SKY in alcohol dependence subjects. Reduction in stress-hormone levels (cortisol and ACTH) along with BDI reductions possibly support a biological mechanism of SKY in producing beneficial effects.
Citations

82
Authors

A. Vedamurthachar | Nimmagadda Janakiramaiah | Jayaram M. Hedge | Taranth K. Shetty | D. K. Subbakirshna | S. V. Sureshbabu | B. N. Gangadhar
Published

2006
Journal

Journal of Affective Disorders
Volume / Issue

94:1
Author's primary institution

National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, India
Lifestyle modification with heavy alcohol drinkers: Effects of aerobic exercise and meditation 
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

To assess the effects of exercise and meditation on alcohol consumption in social drinkers, 60 male students, between the ages of 21 and 30, all classified as heavy social drinkers, were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: exercise (running), meditation, and a no-treatment control group.

The study consisted of three distinct phases: pretreatment baseline (2 weeks), treatment intervention (8 weeks), and a follow-up period (6 weeks). Subjects in the running and meditation conditions met as a group during the treatment intervention phase, and all subjects self-monitored their daily consumption of alcohol throughout the study.

The results showed that subjects in the exercise condition significantly reduced their alcohol consumption compared to the no-treatment control condition. The implications of these findings for treatment intervention, and the importance of subject compliance are discussed.
Citations

142
Authors

Timothy J. Murphy | Robert R. Pagano | G. Alan Marlatt
Published

1986
Journal

Addictive Behaviors
Volume / Issue

11:2
Author's primary institution

University of Washington, USA
Mindfulness Training Modifies Cognitive, Affective, and Physiological Mechanisms Implicated in Alcohol Dependence: Results of a Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

Mindfulness training may disrupt the risk chain of stress-precipitated alcohol relapse.

In 2008, 53 alcohol-dependent adults (mean age = 40.3) recruited from a therapeutic community located in the urban southeastern U.S. were randomized to mindfulness training or a support group. Most participants were male (79.2%). African American (60.4%), and earned less than $20,000 annually (52.8%). Self-report measures, psychophysiological cue-reactivity, and alcohol attentional bias were analyzed via repeated measures ANOVA. Thirty-seven participants completed the interventions.

Mindfulness training significantly reduced stress and thought suppression, increased physiological recovery from alcohol cues, and modulated alcohol attentional bias.

Hence, mindfulness training appears to target key mechanisms implicated in alcohol dependence, and therefore may hold promise as an alternative treatment for stress-precipitated relapse among vulnerable members of society.
Citations

104
Authors

Eric L. Garland | Susan A. Gaylord | Charlotte A. Boettiger | Mathew O. Howard
Published

2010
Journal

Journal of Psychoactive Drugs
Volume / Issue

42:2
Author's primary institution

Florida State University College of Social Work , Tallahassee, FL
A narrative review of yoga and mindfulness as complementary therapies for addiction
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

This paper reviews the philosophical origins, current scientific evidence, and clinical promise of yoga and mindfulness as complementary therapies for addiction.

Historically, there are eight elements of yoga that, together, comprise ethical principles and practices for living a meaningful, purposeful, moral and self-disciplined life. Traditional yoga practices, including postures and meditation, direct attention toward one's health, while acknowledging the spiritual aspects of one's nature.

Mindfulness derives from ancient Buddhist philosophy, and mindfulness meditation practices, such as gentle Hatha yoga and mindful breathing, are increasingly integrated into secular health care settings. Current theoretical models suggest that the skills, insights, and self-awareness learned through yoga and mindfulness practice can target multiple psychological, neural, physiological, and behavioral processes implicated in addiction and relapse.

A small but growing number of well-designed clinical trials and experimental laboratory studies on smoking, alcohol dependence, and illicit substance use support the clinical effectiveness and hypothesized mechanisms of action underlying mindfulness-based interventions for treating addiction. Because very few studies have been conducted on the specific role of yoga in treating or preventing addiction, we propose a conceptual model to inform future studies on outcomes and possible mechanisms.

Additional research is also needed to 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. Overall, current findings increasingly support yoga and mindfulness as promising complementary therapies for treating and preventing addictive behaviors.
Citations

13
Authors

Surbhi Khanna | Jeffrey M. Greeson
Published

2013
Journal

Complementary Therapies in Medicine
Volume / Issue

21:3
Author's primary institution

Kasturba Medical College, Manipal University, Manipal, Karnataka, India
Yoga as a Therapeutic Component in Treating Chemical Dependency
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

The purpose of this article is to examine the parallel in yoga, addiction, and the therapeutic process.

Chemical dependency is a self-destructive process that weakens and unbalances the individual physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Yoga is a three-fold process that can rebuild these aspects of self, serving to counteract further progression of the disease.

Yoga and meditation can be effective in helping the patient regain his/her vital center of energy, satisfaction and stability while making positive changes in their lives. Emphasis is placed on how the application of yoga in conjunction with treatment can accelerate the rehabilitative process.
Citations

17
Authors

Anne Calajoe
Published

1987
Journal

Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly
Volume / Issue

3:4
Author's primary institution

Yoga for addictions: a systematic review of randomised clinical trials
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

Background:

It has been suggested that yoga may be effective in the management of mental health disorders including addictions.

Objective:

To critically evaluate the evidence of effectiveness of yoga as a treatment for addictions.

Methods:

Fourteen electronic databases were searched from inception to January 2013. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that evaluated any type of yoga against any type of control in individuals with any type of addiction were eligible. Methodological quality was appraised using Cochrane criteria.

Results:

Eight RCTs met the eligibility criteria. Most of these RCTs were small with serious methodological flaws. The types of addictions included in these studies were alcohol, drug and nicotine addiction. Seven RCTs suggested that various types of yoga, including hatha yoga (HY), Iyengar yoga, nidra yoga, pranayama or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) plus vinyasa yoga, led to significantly more favourable results for addictions compared to various control interventions. One RCT indicated that a methadone maintenance programme (MMP) plus HY had no effect on drug use and criminal activities compared with MMP plus psychotherapy.

Conclusions:

Although the results of this review are encouraging, large RCTs are needed to better determine the benefits of yoga for addiction.
Citations

1
Authors

Paul Posadzki | Jiae Choi | Myeong Soo Lee | Edzard Ernst
Published

2014
Journal

Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies
Volume / Issue

19:1
Author's primary institution

Medical Research Division, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon, South Korea
Yoga as an adjunct treatment for alcohol dependence: A pilot study
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

Objectives:

This pilot study explores the feasibility of yoga as part of a treatment program for alcohol dependence.

Design:

Eighteen alcohol dependent patients were randomized to receive either treatment as usual or treatment as usual plus yoga. Assessments were taken at baseline and six month follow-up.

Setting:

‘Riddargatan 1’: an outpatient alcohol treatment clinic located in Stockholm, Sweden.

Interventions:

Treatment as usual consisted of psychological and pharmacological interventions for alcohol dependence. The 10-week yoga intervention included a weekly group yoga session. Participants were encouraged to practice the yoga movements at home once per day.

Main outcome measures:

Alcohol consumption (timeline follow-back method, DSM-IV criteria for alcohol dependence, and the Short Alcohol Dependence Data questionnaire), affective symptoms (the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale), quality of life (Sheehan Disability Scale) and stress (the Perceived Stress Scale and saliva cortisol).

Results:

Yoga was found to be a feasible and well accepted adjunct treatment for alcohol dependence. Alcohol consumption reduced more in the treatment as usual plus yoga group (from 6.32 to 3.36 drinks per day) compared to the treatment as usual only group (from 3.42 to 3.08 drinks per day). The difference was, however, not statistically significant (p = 0.17).

Conclusions:

Larger studies are needed to adequately assess the efficacy and long-term effectiveness of yoga as an adjunct treatment for alcohol dependence.
Citations

1
Authors

Mats Hallgren | Karin Romberg | Ann-Sofie Bakshi | Sven Andreasson
Published

2014
Journal

Complementary Therapies in Medicine
Volume / Issue

22:3
Author's primary institution

Department of Public Health Sciences, Section of Epidemiology and Public Health Intervention Research (EPHIR), Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden

Your stories


Be the first to share your story


Have your say!


Find

Use these buttons to find teachers, venues and teacher training for this condition


Disclaimer
You can transform life’s challenges and create the life you love.
Our community will inspire, inform and equip you.

The Yoga Map Project will blow you away with the personal stories of people transforming their lives through yoga. Add your story to get celebrated for your journey, to inspire other yogis on the same path, and to get the whole world on its mat.

Yoga will help you with all of life’s big challenges – whether you want to banish the blues, deal with anxiety and stress, or cope with a serious illness like cancer. Don’t believe us? Get stuck into over 300 clinical studies from renowned institutions proving the power of yoga for 30+ health conditions.

Our designers have transformed their own lives through yoga, and they’d love to inspire you as you transform yours. Shop our unique, curated range of collections from yoga loving, independent designers around the globe.

Stay up-to-date with what’s trending in the online yoga world through our #PoweredByYoga aggregated social stream. See which pins are making waves on Pinterest and what yoga stories are being shared through Instagram. Don’t forget to tag your #PoweredByYoga story to be featured!

Our teachers, venues and TTOs are the core of our mission. By sharing your schedules, creating a professional profile, offering your online classes, training courses + more, you can help others transform their lives and find the power of yoga.

We want to get the world on its mat but we need your help. We’re looking for volunteers to help us promote the power of yoga so that everyone gets a sense of what it can do for them. If you know the power of yoga and want to help us spread the word - with blogging, social media, PR or marketing - please contact lucy@yogaclicks.com.

Sign up to see more. Live dangerously! It's free!