IMAGE: University of Utah researcher Eric Garland developed a new mindfulness-focused treatment for people with chronic pain that can effectively reduce pain and misuse of opioid painkillers.
Mindfulness reduces pain and opioid misuse. With nearly one–third of Americans suffering from chronic pain, prescription opioid painkillers have become the leading form of treatment for this debilitating condition. Unfortunately, misuse of prescription opioids can lead to serious side effects—including death by overdose. A new treatment developed by University of Utah researcher Eric Garland has shown to not only lower pain but also decrease prescription opioid misuse among chronic pain patients. Results of a study by Garland published online Feb. 3 in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, showed that the new treatment led to a 63 percent reduction in opioid misuse, compared to a 32 percent reduction among participants of a conventional support group. Additionally, participants in the new treatment group experienced a 22 percent reduction in pain–related impairment, which lasted for three months after the end of treatment. The new intervention, called Mindfulness–Oriented Recovery Enhancement, or MORE, is designed to train people to respond differently to pain, stress and opioid–related cues.
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