Brief (11 minutes!) mindfulness training helps heavy drinkers

Brief (11 minutes!) mindfulness training helps heavy drinkers

The blog ScienceDaily.com published “Eleven minutes of mindfulness training helps drinkers cut back” On 8-24-17.  This article reports on an interesting study.  There are 60 participants, all “heavy drinkers.” The treatment was a brief, 11 minute mindfulness training. The participants were divided into two groups, one of which received the intervention and the other received a sham intervention and functioned as a control group.

The bad news is that the drinkers were studied for only one week. On the other hand, remarkably, the treatment group reduced their intake of alcohol significantly (about 3 pints – the study was done in England- per week).  The control group showed no change of intake. The authors theorize that the mindfulness training made the problem drinkers more aware of their cravings for alcohol, and more “intentional” about how they responded. One of the authors is quoted, “Some might think that mindfulness is something that takes a long time to learn properly, so we found it encouraging that limited training and limited encouragement could have a significant effect to reduce alcohol consumption.”

MHConcierge’s take: this study clearly has limitations, but is part of an emerging body of research that supports the benefits of mindfulness trainings for a variety of problems, and it is encouraging that such a brief and “doable” intervention 10 potentially be beneficial. This is something that mental health clinicians could potentially utilize to help their patients with substance use disorders.

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