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Long-Term Abstinence Following Holotropic Breathwork as Adjunctive Treatment of Substance Use Disorders and Related Psychiatric Comorbidity


Addictions remain challenging conditions despite various promising traditional approaches. Although complete, long-term abstinence may be ideal, its attainment remains elusive. Many recovering addicts and clinicians stress the importance of spiritual issues in recovery, and 12-step programs such as AA are well-known approaches that embrace this philosophy. Holotropic Breathwork (HB) is another powerful, spiritually oriented approach to self-exploration and healing that integrates insights from modern consciousness research, anthropology, depth psychologies, transpersonal psychology, Eastern spiritual practices, and many mystical traditions. HB offers the addict many opportunities that may enhance addiction treatment, including entering non-ordinary states of consciousness to seek healing and wisdom via a natural, non-addictive method, a direct experience of one’s Higher Power, and for physical and emotional catharsis associated with stress and prior trauma. We report the successful use of HB in 4 cases in which complete abstinence was obtained and maintained for extended periods of time (2–19 years).

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Correspondence to Timothy D. Brewerton.

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Brewerton, T.D., Eyerman, J.E., Cappetta, P. et al. Long-Term Abstinence Following Holotropic Breathwork as Adjunctive Treatment of Substance Use Disorders and Related Psychiatric Comorbidity. Int J Ment Health Addiction 10, 453–459 (2012).

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  • Holotropic Breathwork
  • Addiction
  • Substance use disorders
  • Psychotherapy
  • Spirituality
  • Comorbidity
  • Abstinence
  • Follow-up