Addicts helped by ancient arts

Islington Gazette, September 19, 2007

London, UK -- A PIONEERING scheme to tackle alcoholism and drug addiction in Islington using 1,000-year-old Buddhist meditation techniques has been hailed as a success.

<< EXPERT: Dr Groves

Dr Paramabandhu Groves, 46, a consultant psychiatrist in substance misuse for the Camden & Islington Mental Health and Social Care Trust (CIMHSCT), has been treating alcoholics with spiritual "mindfulness meditation" since 2005.

Although a study into the success rates of the revolutionary new treatment is currently being carried out, Dr Groves says despite an "inevitable" drop-out rate most patients have found it "very helpful".

He said: "Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is about bringing awareness to different parts of your body by meditating and to notice where your mind has gone to and what are the sensations of what's happening in your body.

"It was originally used in the US to treat relapses in depression, but it occurred to me that it would work in cases of addiction relapse. I applied and developed it in that way but it's suitable for any addiction."

Dr Dominic O'Ryan, a chartered clinical psychologist at CIMHSCT, said: "Mindfulness techniques are based on 1,000-year-old traditions. The most recent course was the most successful in terms of how many people attended and how engaged they were.