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Front. Psychiatry | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00095

Mindfulness-based interventions for the treatment of substance and behavioral addictions. A systematic review.

  • 1Psychiatry, Bellvitge University Hospital, Spain
  • 2Psychiatry, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Spain
  • 3CIBER de Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición, Spain
  • 4Departamento de Ciencas Clínicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain
  • 5Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental, Spain

Background: Emotion (dys)regulation as well as the interventions for improving these difficulties have received growing attention in the literature. The aim of the present paper was to systematically review current evidence on the clinical changes and benefits related to mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) in both substance and behavioral addictions.

Method: A literature search was conducted using Cochrane, PubMed and Web of Science. Fifty-four randomized controlled trials published in English since 2009 to April 2017 were included into a narrative synthesis.

Results: MBIs were applied in a wide range of addictions, including substance use disorders (from smoking to alcohol, among others) and behavioral addictions (namely gambling disorder). These treatments were successful for reducing dependence, craving and other addiction-related symptoms by also improving mood state and emotion dysregulation. Among the most commonly used MBIs approaches were: Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP), Mindfulness Training for Smokers (MTS) or Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) and the most frequent control group in the included studies was Treatment as Usual (TAU). The most effective approach was the combination de MBIs with TAU or other active treatment. However, there is a lack of studies showing the maintenance of the effect over time. Therfore, studies with longer follow-ups are needed.

Conclusions: The revised literature shows support for the effectiveness of the mindfulness-based interventions. Future research should focus on longer follow-up assessments as well as on adolescence and young population, as they are a vulnerable population for developing problems associated with alcohol, drugs or other addictions.

Key words: mindfulness, addiction, behavioral addiction, substance use, gambling.

Keywords: mindfulness, Addiction, behavioral addiction, substance use, Gambling.

Received: 21 Jan 2018; Accepted: 07 Mar 2018.

Edited by:

Roumen Kirov, Institute of Neurobiology (BAS), Bulgaria

Reviewed by:

Serge Brand, Universität Basel, Switzerland
Cristina Segura-Garcia, Dipartimento di Scienze della Salute, Università degli Studi Magna Graecia di Catanzaro, Italy  

Copyright: © 2018 Sancho-Navarro, De Gracia, Rodríguez, Mallorquí-Bagué, Sánchez-Gónzalez, Trujols, Sánchez, Jiménez-Murcia and Menchon. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
MD, PhD. Marta Sancho-Navarro, Bellvitge University Hospital, Psychiatry, Barcelona, Spain,
MD, PhD. Susana Jiménez-Murcia, Bellvitge University Hospital, Psychiatry, Barcelona, Spain,