Yoga Therapy for Addiction Treatment

In recent years, addiction experts have recognized the positive impact that complementary health approaches, or holistic interventions, can have on substance use disorders. These encompass a range of categories, such as mind and body medicine, natural products, and movement or body-based therapies, including yoga.1

This page will explore how yoga can be used as therapy for drug addiction, its benefits, and how to get help.

Yoga for Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Yoga is an ancient mind-body practice developed from Hinduism that has become increasingly popular among people of all religious and secular backgrounds.2 Research has shown that yoga can mitigate perceived stress, reduce anxiety, and improve someone’s mental and physical health. Because these issues often co-occur and contribute to addiction, it’s theorized that yoga therapy can be an effective form of addiction treatment.3

There are 8 core components in yoga, which include:2

  • Conduct within society.
  • Personal discipline.
  • Postures/poses.
  • Breathing.
  • Concentration. 
  • Contemplation. 
  • Meditation.
  • Absorption/stillness.

These principles work together to build a foundation that encourages a life instilled with purpose, morality, and self-discipline.2 Proponents of yoga therapy philosophize that its practice can increase resilience and decrease vulnerability to unhealthy mental states like addiction.3

Benefits of Yoga for Addiction Treatment

Possible benefits of yoga in addiction treatment include:

  • Improved physical health.2
  • Muscle relaxation.2
  • Enhanced stress management.1
  • Healthier view and understanding of self.2
  • Reduced anxiety.3
  • Improvement in mood.3
  • Increased quality of life.3
  • Improved emotional regulation.1

Research has shown that practicing mindfulness and mindful movement like yoga can positively influence the prefrontal cortex and amygdala. With chronic substance use, the changes that occur in these brain areas reinforce addictive behavior. Thus, it is plausible that yoga could mitigate the unhealthy brain changes caused by addiction.2

Can Yoga Help with Drug or Alcohol Addiction?

Though studies have not found yoga superior to current therapeutic interventions, it can still be a useful tool in a comprehensive treatment program.2 For this reason, effective treatment centers that provide yoga therapy (or other types of holistic therapy for drug addiction) utilize it in conjunction with evidence-based therapeutic approaches, not instead of them.

A 2014 review published in Complementary Therapy Medicine found several positive results of yoga in addiction treatment, including:3

  • Reduced Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and Drug Use Disorders Identification Test (DUDIT) scores among patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who drank alcohol.
  • Improved quality of life among women with opioid use disorder (OUD).
  • Lowered stress levels of HIV-positive patients with crack-cocaine addiction.

Yoga Therapy for Addiction Treatment Near Dallas, Texas

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, help is available. Treatment for substance use disorder may involve a variety of interventions, including holistic treatment options like yoga.

Greenhouse Treatment Center is an accredited inpatient addiction treatment center near Dallas that offers holistic therapy options alongside evidence-based approaches, as well as outpatient treatment and sober living.

Call today to discover different ways to treat addiction and where your journey may begin. Admissions navigators are available 24/7 to help you start the admissions process and answer questions about health insurance, ways to pay for rehab, and what to expect in treatment.

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