Yoga for Substance Abuse

A narrative review on the benefits of yoga for substance abuse.

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So....this is the second narrative review we are posting in as many days! This new review is on the benefits of yoga for people struggling with substance use disorders. Substance use disorders are among the common disorders across the world, and are associated with considerable social costs. The course of substance use disorders is often a lengthy one with relapses and remissions. High rates of discontinuation of treatment have propelled the search for newer therapies. Yoga, as a form of alternate and complementary therapy holds promise of providing another treatment option.

This review discusses the evidence available for yoga as an option for substance use disorders, followed by mechanisms put forth to describe its action, followed by the limitations in the literature and the future directions for the field. It is certainly worth a read.

Several factors are cited in this article as making yoga a promising approach for treatment of substance use disorders. Yoga has been demonstrated in multiple studies to be helpful in improving outcomes of patients with substance use disorders. Hence, offering yoga services, either in group format or individually may further improve the rates of cessation of substance use and abstinence among people struggling with these highly complex and difficult issues.

Among other conclusions, the authors of this review propose that yoga interventions would be beneficial when people are out of the acute withdrawal stage. In this stage, people are more likely to attend to the yoga sessions and practice its use when they have been medically stabilised and are in frame of mind to think about enhancing their lifestyle and use measures to reduce their stress.

Heather Mason

Founder of the Minded Institute, The Minded Institute

Heather Mason is a leader in the field of mind-body therapy and the founder of Yoga Therapy for the Mind. She develops innovative methods for mental health treatment drawing on her robust educational background including an MA in Psychotherapy, an MA in Buddhist Studies, studies in Neuroscience and a current MSc in Medical Physiology.. She is also a 500 RYT, a yoga therapist and an MBCT facilitator. Heather offers various professional trainings for yoga teachers, healthcare professionals and therapists, lectures around the world, and delivers training to medical students. She also develops protocols for different client populations by translating cutting edge research from the psycho-biology and neuro-biology of stress into yoga practices, breathwork, mindfulness interventions and therapeutic holding. Further she is involved in research on the efficacy of these practices, holds the annual UK yoga therapy conference and is blazing the trail for the integration of yoga therapy into the NHS