Researchers carried out a statistical meta-analysis of 198 independent treatment outcomes. They found that Transcendental Meditation produced a significantly larger reduction in tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use than either standard substance abuse treatments (including counseling, pharmacological treatments, relaxation training, and Twelve-step programmes) or prevention programmes (such as programmes to counteract peer-pressure and promote personal development).
Sustained results using TM
This meta-analysis controlled for strength of study design and included both heavy and casual users.
Whereas the effects of conventional programmes typically decrease sharply by 3 months, effects of Transcendental Meditation on total abstinence from tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug ranged from 51% – 89% over an 18-22 month period.
Research reference 1: Treating and preventing alcohol, nicotine, and drug abuse through Transcendental Meditation: A review and statistical meta-analysis, published in Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 11: 13-87, 1994.
Research reference 2: Effectiveness of the Transcendental Meditation programme in preventing and treating substance misuse; A review, published in International Journal of the Addictions 26: 293-325, 1991.
65% alcohol abstinence among chronic alcoholics
In another study, this time funded by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 108 transient, chronic alcoholic patients (80% African-Americans) were randomly assigned one of four treatments: TM, EMG biofeedback, neurotherapy, or regular drug counselling alone.
After 18 months, a significant number (65%) of the TM practitioners were abstinent compared to neurotherapy (28%) and controls. The EMG group also showed significant abstinence.
Research reference: Effectiveness of broad spectrum approaches to relapse prevention: a long-term, randomised, controlled trial comparing transcendental meditation, muscle relaxation and electronic neurotherapy in severe alcoholism. Authors: E. Taub, S.S. Steiner, R.B. Smith, E. Weingarten, K.G. Walton. Published in Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, Vol. 11 1995
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