Mindfulness meditation for substance use disorders: a systematic review

Subst Abus. Oct-Dec 2009;30(4):266-94. doi: 10.1080/08897070903250019.

Abstract

Relapse is common in substance use disorders (SUDs), even among treated individuals. The goal of this article was to systematically review the existing evidence on mindfulness meditation-based interventions (MM) for SUDs. The comprehensive search for and review of literature found over 2000 abstracts and resulted in 25 eligible manuscripts (22 published, 3 unpublished: 8 randomized controlled trials, 7 controlled nonrandomized, 6 noncontrolled prospective, and 2 qualitative studies, and 1 case report). When appropriate, methodological quality, absolute risk reduction, number needed to treat, and effect size were assessed. Overall, although preliminary evidence suggests MM efficacy and safety, conclusive data for MM as a treatment of SUDs are lacking. Significant methodological limitations exist in most studies. Further, it is unclear which persons with SUDs might benefit most from MM. Future trials must be of sufficient sample size to answer a specific clinical question and should target both assessment of effect size and mechanisms of action.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention*
  • Humans
  • Meditation / methods*
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome