Mindfulness may reduce opioid cravings, Research finds

The study, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, remarked the effects of mindfulness and methadone therapy on 30 patients with opioid addiction & chronic pain.

The research, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, attributed that the effects of mindfulness and methadone therapy on 30 patients with opioid addiction and chronic pain. Mindfulness is the meditative practice of focusing on the present moment and accepting one’s thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations, without judgement.

The study remarked that, “people suffering from opioid addiction and chronic pain might have fewer cravings and less pain if they use both mindfulness techniques and medication for opioid dependence”. As per the researchers, for many of those with opioid addictions who experienced chronic pain, anxiety and depression, methadone maintenance and mindfulness-based, non-drug interventions were promising treatments.

Moreover, The new findings of research showed that those who received methadone and a mindfulness training-based intervention were 1.3 times better at controlling their cravings and had significantly greater improvements in pain, stress and positive emotions, even though they were aware of more cravings than those who only received standard methadone treatment and counselling

Meanwhile, Nina Cooperman, Associate Professor at Rutgers University in the United State stated, “Methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) has been an effective form of medication treatment for opioid use disorder,”. “Although, nearly half of individuals on MMT continue to use opioids during treatment or relapse with six months,”..

The researchers also attributed that mindfulness-based interventions could help people dependent on opioids increase their self-awareness and self-control over cravings and be less reactive to emotional and physical pain. Individuals with an opioid addiction could also be taught to change their negative thoughts and savour pleasant events, which might help them to regulate their emotions.

Results from a study suggest mindfulness – oriented recovery enhancement – an integrative behavioral group therapy that involves training in mindfulness, reappraisal, and savoring skills – may be a useful nondrug complementary treatment for people with opioid use disorder and chronic pain in methadone maintenance therapy. As per the Stage 1 pilot study, which included 30 participants with opioid use disorder and chronic pain, was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). It was published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Despite all of this, Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around our society and world. For many scholars, It is a state that can be brought on through practice. It’s not static, nor are some people ‘born more mindful’ than others. It involves awareness, and impartiality about what we gain from this awareness. In an age of social media, where opinions, likes, and commentary are more than forthcoming, it’s easy to see how non-judgmental reflection can be a welcome change.


  1. Eric L. Garland, Adam W. Hanley, Anna Kline, Nina A. Cooperman. Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement reduces opioid craving among individuals with opioid use disorder and chronic pain in medication assisted treatment: Ecological momentary assessments from a stage 1 randomized controlled trial. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2019; 203: 61 DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.07.007.

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