An article I published with my colleagues Brett Froeliger from MUSC and Matthew Howard from UNC Chapel Hill in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry entitled “Mindfulness training targets neurocognitive mechanisms of addiction at the attention-appraisal-emotion interface” was designated in the 93rd percentile of 3,480,147 articles tracked by Altmetric. The Altmetric score is a measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that this article has received. The paper details the model depicted below.
In this review paper, we describe how mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) may target neurocognitive mechanisms of addiction at the attention-appraisal-emotion interface. Empirical evidence is presented suggesting that MBIs ameliorate addiction by enhancing cognitive regulation of a number of key processes, including: clarifying cognitive appraisal and modulating negative emotions to reduce perseverative cognition and emotional arousal; enhancing metacognitive awareness to regulate drug-use action schema and decrease addiction attentional bias; promoting extinction learning to uncouple drug-use triggers from conditioned appetitive responses; reducing cue-reactivity and increasing cognitive control over craving; attenuating physiological stress reactivity through parasympathetic activation; and increasing savoring to restore natural reward processing. Treatment and research implications of our neurocognitive framework are presented. We conclude by offering a temporally sequenced description of neurocognitive processes targeted by MBIs through a hypothetical case study. Our neurocognitive framework has implications for the optimization of addiction treatment with MBIs.