Brian Estafin: Taming the wild horse of addiction: Does mindfulness help?
Buddhist meditation was designed as a response to craving and its contribution to human suffering. Within Western perspectives of psychopathology, craving plays a particularly important role in addictive behaviors. There is a small but building research literature that examines mindfulness meditation as an intervention for addictive behaviors. These initial studies indicate promise for mindfulness interventions, but little is known about the mechanisms through which mindfulness influences addictive behaviors. This presentation presents two studies that examine potential mechanisms. The first study was conducted with a clinical sample and examined whether a brief (30 minute) mindfulness intervention would reduce (automatic) appetitive responses to substance use cues. The second study was conducted with undergraduate students who felt they had problems controlling their use of Facebook and examined whether 1 week of daily mindfulness practice would reduce their Facebook use and whether this effect was mediated by changes in executive functions.