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Transcendental Meditation used to decrease stress and treat addiction
by Global Good News staff writer
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20 November 2012
Transcendental Meditation effectively treats addiction, said Dr Norman Rosenthal at the recent conference in Washington, DC, on Stress, Meditation, Addictions, and Self-Recovery.
Dr Rosenthal, clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine, explained how Transcendental Meditation works to calm addictive tendencies. Dr Rosenthal is a distinguished psychiatrist who, during 20 years as a researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health, led the team that first described Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).*
Transcendental Meditation decreases stress, anxiety, and depression, thus making people less likely to resort to addictive substances, Dr Rosenthal said. In addition, strengthened prefrontal cortex function may improve one's ability to make good choices.
'It reduces anxiety,' said Dr Rosenthal. He described a meta-analysis of 146 studies showing that Transcendental Meditation is very effective at reducing anxiety across a number of different populations, especially when compared to other intervention methods.
One way this works is that practice of Transcendental Meditation slows down the amygdala and strengthens the prefrontal cortex.
Dr Rosenthal spoke of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, saying that Transcendental Meditation enables one to self-actualize, a quality at the uppermost level of the hierarchy, while most addicts are living at the bottom of the hierarchy, functioning on a basic physiological level only.
'As you go up the pyramid you become a really worthwhile member of society who actually contributes and becomes your best self,' said Dr Rosenthal.
He referenced a man he had talked about earlier, an addict who was able to recover from his addiction.
'He started off as this apparently hopeless addict . . . and he ended up helping people in prisons get over their addictions, helping people recover.'
Lastly, said Dr Rosenthal, Transcendental Meditation promotes harmony on a number of levels.
'Within the brain it promotes coherence between different brain centres. It promotes harmony between the brain and body so the body no longer suffers the effects of repeated stress. [Transcendental Meditation] promotes harmony between people.'
This increased harmony, Dr Rosenthal said, allows people to function better in social settings and to not allow stress to propagate their addictions.
See previous articles in this series:
∙ With Transcendental Meditation, addiction relapse rates decrease over time
∙ Transcendental Meditation soothes addictive cravings: Musician Moby's experience
∙ Transcendental Meditation 'surge protector' against flood of stress hormones, helps reduce mortality, addictions
∙ Training the nervous system not to overreact: Transcendental Meditation powerful tool in addiction recovery
∙ Transcendental Meditation increases brain coherence, quiets 'alarm bells' - helps reduce addiction
∙ Expert on Transcendence describes three different kinds of meditation
∙ Meditation long used to treat addictions: Dr Norman Rosenthal
∙ Dr Norman Rosenthal addresses conference on stress, addiction, and Transcendental Meditation
* Dr Rosenthal is also the author of five books, most recently the New York Times bestseller Transcendence: Healing and Transformation through Transcendental Meditation.
Copyright © 2013 Global Good News Service
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