Implementation of Rocking Chair Therapy for Veterans in Residential Substance Use Disorder Treatment

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Substance use disorder (SUD) and mental health diagnosis negatively affect Veteran homelessness. OBJECTIVE: Assess the acceptance and feasibility of rocking chair therapy as a self-implemented intervention for mood and substance cravings. PICOT: For homeless Veterans in SUD treatment, how does adding vestibular stimulation by use of a rocking chair compared with treatment as usual affect levels of anxiety and substance cravings? RESULTS: Two significant findings were observed. First, a greater number of minutes spent rocking was associated with significantly greater scores on the Expectancy scale of the Alcohol Craving Questionnaire (ACQ; p = .05), suggesting participants experiencing higher urges and desires to drink rocked to self-soothe. Second, a significant association was observed between a greater number of minutes spent rocking and lower scores on the ACQ Purposefulness subscale (p = .03), indicating greater time rocking was associated with fewer urges and desires that are connected with the intent and plan to drink. CONCLUSION: Vestibular stimulation by rocking in a rocking chair may increase the ability to self-regulate mood and substance cravings, thereby potentially reducing risk of relapse and recurrent chronic homelessness.

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