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Background

Sex addiction is a disorder that can have serious adverse functional consequences. Treatment effectiveness research for sex addiction is currently underdeveloped, and interventions are generally based on the guidelines for treating other behavioral (as well as chemical) addictions. Consequently, there is a need to clinically evaluate tailored treatments that target the specific symptoms of sex addiction. It has been proposed that second-generation mindfulness-based interventions (SG-MBIs) may be an appropriate treatment for sex addiction because in addition to helping individuals increase perceptual distance from craving for desired objects and experiences, some SG-MBIs specifically contain meditations intended to undermine attachment to sex and/or the human body. The current study conducts the first clinical investigation into the utility of mindfulness for treating sex addiction.

Case presentation

An in-depth clinical case study was conducted involving an adult male suffering from sex addiction that underwent treatment utilizing an SG-MBI known as Meditation Awareness Training (MAT). Following completion of MAT, the participant demonstrated clinically significant improvements in addictive sexual behavior, as well as reductions in depression and psychological distress. The MAT intervention also led to improvements in sleep quality, job satisfaction, and non-attachment to self and experiences. Salutary outcomes were maintained at 6-month follow-up.

Discussion and conclusion

The current study extends the literature exploring the applications of mindfulness for treating behavioral addiction, and findings indicate that further clinical investigation into the role of mindfulness for treating sex addiction is warranted.

Open access

Abstract

Purpose

In the last five years, scientific interest into the potential applications of Buddhist-derived interventions (BDIs) for the treatment of problem gambling has been growing. This paper reviews current directions, proposes conceptual applications, and discusses integration issues relating to the utilisation of BDIs as problem gambling treatments.

Method

Aliterature search and evaluation of the empirical literature for BDIs as problem gambling treatments was undertaken.

Results

To date, research has been limited to cross-sectional studies and clinical case studies and findings indicate that Buddhist-derived mindfulness practices have the potential to play an important role in ameliorating problem gambling symptomatology. As an adjunct to mindfulness, other Buddhist-derived practices are also of interest including: (i) insight meditation techniques (e.g., meditation on ‘emptiness’) to overcome avoidance and dissociation strategies, (ii) ‘antidotes’ (e.g., patience, impermanence, etc.) to attenuate impulsivity and salience-related issues, (iii) loving-kindness and compassion meditation to foster positive thinking and reduce conflict, and (iv) ‘middle-way’ principles and ‘bliss-substitution’ to reduce relapse and temper withdrawal symptoms. In addition to an absence of controlled treatment studies, the successful operationalisation of BDIs as effective treatments for problem gambling may be impeded by issues such as a deficiency of suitably experienced BDI clinicians, and the poor provision by service providers of both BDIs and dedicated gambling interventions.

Conclusions

Preliminary findings for BDIs as problem gambling treatments are promising, however, further research is required.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: William Van Gordon, Edo Shonin, Sofiane Diouri, Javier Garcia-Campayo, Yasuhiro Kotera and Mark D. Griffiths

Background

Ontological addiction theory (OAT) is a novel metaphysical model of psychopathology and posits that human beings are prone to forming implausible beliefs concerning the way they think they exist, and that these beliefs can become addictive leading to functional impairments and mental illness. The theoretical underpinnings of OAT derive from the Buddhist philosophical perspective that all phenomena, including the self, do not manifest inherently or independently.

Aims and methods

This paper outlines the theoretical foundations of OAT along with indicative supportive empirical evidence from studies evaluating meditation awareness training as well as studies investigating non-attachment, emptiness, compassion, and loving-kindness.

Results

OAT provides a novel perspective on addiction, the factors that underlie mental illness, and how beliefs concerning selfhood are shaped and reified.

Conclusion

In addition to continuing to test the underlying assumptions of OAT, future empirical research needs to determine how ontological addiction fits with extant theories of self, reality, and suffering, as well with more established models of addiction.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: William Van Gordon, Edo Shonin, Thomas J. Dunn, Javier Garcia-Campayo, Marcelo M. P. Demarzo and Mark D. Griffiths

Background and aims

Workaholism is a form of behavioral addiction that can lead to reduced life and job satisfaction, anxiety, depression, burnout, work–family conflict, and impaired productivity. Given the number of people affected, there is a need for more targeted workaholism treatments. Findings from previous case studies successfully utilizing second-generation mindfulness-based interventions (SG-MBIs) for treating behavioral addiction suggest that SG-MBIs may be suitable for treating workaholism. This study conducted a controlled trial to investigate the effects of an SG-MBI known as meditation awareness training (MAT) on workaholism.

Methods

Male and female adults suffering from workaholism (n = 73) were allocated to MAT or a waiting-list control group. Assessments were performed at pre-, post-, and 3-month follow-up phases.

Results

MAT participants demonstrated significant and sustained improvements over control-group participants in workaholism symptomatology, job satisfaction, work engagement, work duration, and psychological distress. Furthermore, compared to the control group, MAT participants demonstrated a significant reduction in hours spent working but without a decline in job performance.

Discussion and conclusions

MAT may be a suitable intervention for treating workaholism. Further controlled intervention studies investigating the effects of SG-MBIs on workaholism are warranted.

Open access