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Mindfulness, a step to overcome addiction

In recent years, rehabilitation centers, and the treatments they provide are an ethical conflict due to their effect on the patients.

An analysis of 28 studies, with follow up periods from 8 to 52 weeks, found that the relapse risk after discontinuation of antidepressants was 36.4%, compared with 16.4% in those who stayed on the medication (Kling). All of this aside, this is not guaranteed to be protective against relapse. People debate whether relapse centers should do more for the well being of their patients’ mental health.

According to Dr. Keith J. Zulig, chair and professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the West Virginia University School of Public Health, “Mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP) can be successfully implemented in an outpatient environment with equal or better results than the standard treatment” (Haelle).

From a moral standpoint, drug rehab centers should make mindfulness programs that focus on preventing relapse.

Supporters of mindfulness for drug abusers believe rehab centers should take predominant actions in their patients' care programs.

Depression is a controlling factor in many lives and is a leading cause of disability.

There are pharmacological treatments provided by rehab centers; however, the ethicality of the companies making these products is not in favor of the abuser, but in profiting themselves (Cruwys).

Therefore, it is crucial that rehab centers focus on targeting the primary causes of depression, such as loneliness, with a right-minded solution (Haelle).

Alternatively, in the opinion of the Mayo Clinic Staff, antidepressants along with counseling is a standard solution for relapse. Depression symptoms for most patients significantly decrease, and behavior improves (Mayo Clinic Staff). In contrast to this claim, Harvard Medical School found that over time the antidepressants that are prescribed by many doctors can lead to addiction, and dependence on the medication (Harvard Medical School). It was also found that the dependence of antidepressants can cause withdrawals along with suicidal actions when, and if the patient is taken off the medication (Harvard Medical School). In other words, while treating the problem of depression, other serious side effects will surface.

A mindfulness program can lend itself to creating a safe environment of interaction, and relationship building between participants (Harvard Health).

Testing this solution, researchers recruited 60 participants from a comprehensive opioid addiction treatment program who had been narcotic-free for a 90-day consecutive period. Participants in the study then chose whether they wanted to be part of the treatment-as-usual group, attending 60-minute cognitive-based therapy for 36 weeks, or the MBRP group meeting twice per week for 24 weeks, followed by 12 weeks of treatment-as-usual (Haelle). In the conclusion of this study, MBRP groups had a statistical difference in drug craving compared to the treatment-as-usual group (Haelle). The former group was capable of resisting the urge to resume their addiction. While antidepressants serve a purpose and can lower the chances of substance relapse, they create serious issues for the subject that do not have a cure or solution. This will give patients a higher risk of additional mental, and physical problems.


Harvard Health Publishing. “How Meditation Helps with Depression.” Harvard Health, Aug. 2018,

Harvard Medical School. “What Are the Real Risks of Antidepressants?” Harvard Health,

Mayo Clinic Staff. “Treatment-Resistant Depression.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 21 July 2017,

Kling, Jim. "About one-third of anxiety patients relapse after stopping antidepressants." Clinical Psychiatry News, Aug. 2019, p. 2. Gale OneFile: Health and Medicine, 28 Sept. 2019.

Voss, Janet Piper. Relapse After Long-Term Society .Oct. 2009,

Cruwys, Tegan, et al. "The connecting adolescents to reduce relapse (CARR) trial: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial comparing the efficacy of Groups 4 Health and cognitive behaviour therapy in young people." BMC Public Health, vol. 19, no. 1, 2019. Gale OneFile: HealthandMedicine, Accessed 28 Sept. 2019.

Haelle, Tara. "Mindfulness-based relapse prevention tied to lower anxiety, depression." Clinical Psychiatry News, Aug. 2019, p. 15. Gale OneFile: Health and Medicine, https:// Accessed 28 Sept. 2019.

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