Yoga plus Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention programs are being combined to treat people with alcohol and drug addictions at 12&12 Center for Addiction Treatment & Recovery.

The programs, combined with other programs, will be the standard for those admitted for treatment starting in 2017 if funding is obtained, said Brad Collins, director of Community Relations/Research and Efficacy.

“We want to be known as a thought leader among elite treatment centers across the country,” he said. “We want to be known as a research and evidence-based center in regard to our approach to addiction treatment and recovery.”

The goal is to be known as a center that will study and implement new approaches to treatments because of outcomes that give clients life-saving tools to sustain recovery.

Approximately 100 participants completed a six-month pilot program and reported positive results. Before-and-after screenings were conducted to determine the baseline of depressive symptoms and an individual’s overall sense of well being, Collins said. Those feelings could have been physical, emotional, mental, social or spiritual.

The MBRP four-hour sessions were held twice weekly. Hour-long yoga classes were part of the activity. Initial screenings at the start of the program and the individual’s treatment experiences were noted, and the most common feedback was some depression-type symptoms.

A second screening at the end of treatment found that depressive symptoms had been essentially reduced. All clients said they felt better overall, Collins said.

Both disciplines use a meditative approach to the mind and body connection and how the individual communicates with oneself, he said. Yoga challenges a person to move in a way they probably haven’t moved in long time as the poses cause the body and mind to react with questions.

MBRP is a meditative approach to internal inquiry addressing thoughts, bodily sensations, recurring kinds of thoughts and being curious, Collins said. It involves looking inward and using a meditative approach to address thought patterns and processes as well as bodily sensations.

Yoga uses mind and body connections and looks at how people communicate with themselves. The body might want the person to run away from the effort, or the mind might tell the person to bear down, try harder and perhaps breathing techniques employed by yoga.

The goal is to help the client overcome addictions and reunify with family, resume an interrupted career and reintegrate into society, Collins said. It is another step in healing the body, brain, spirit and mind.

The purpose is to help a person believe in themselves, to understand and gain confidence despite challenges. It doesn’t mean a person is going to fail because they can’t do it.

MBRP helps a person look inward and see the truth about the value the brain starts to assign to alcohol or other drug use.

A person coming off alcohol and drug abuse experiences pain from the physical dependence and the emotional wreckage that caused the addiction. Addictions also are mentally taxing because of the guilt and shame associated with the disease.

Addiction is manifested in the survival brain and becomes a response alternative when the person turns to drinking or drug use when threatened. MBRP allows the person to deal with underlying issues, Collins said.

Collins referred to a poster displayed in his office showing the impact of alcohol and drug abuse on the brain. It is part of a series being developed with Dr. Hamed Ekhtiari, a Laureate Institute for Brain Research addiction psychiatrist.

The Brain Awareness in Recovery Initiative posters will be distributed to other community centers, community partners and anyone who wants to display them, he said.

The first will identify the 10 main brain functions injured by alcohol and drug abuse, and the second will introduce the do’s and don’ts protocols that allow the brain to start healing. The third will suggest specific brain tasks that folks can do to bring their brain back into regulation.

“We want to do tasks and exercises that will bring the brain back online,” he said.

“Everyone admitted to the 12&12 addiction treatment and recovery program starting in January will have the opportunity to have MBRP and yoga as part of their treatment protocol.”

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