Mindfulness-Based Therapy Helps Reduce Chronic Pain & Opioid Misuse

Mindfulness-Based Therapy Helps Reduce Chronic Pain & Opioid Misuse

Mindfulness-Based Therapy Helps Reduce Chronic Pain & Opioid Misuse 1920 1280 Gary Ruelas, D.O., Ph.D.

According to a recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine, a mindfulness-based therapy intervention is more effective in reducing chronic pain and opioid misuse than psychotherapy.

Read about the research below:

“The study involved 250 adult patients from primary care clinics in Utah who were randomly assigned to Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) or to supportive group psychotherapy. The participants had chronic pain for an average of almost l5 years, were receiving long-term opioid therapy, and were misusing opioids.

After 9 months, 45% of the 80 participants who completed the Intervention were no longer misusing opioids compared with 24.4% of 78 participants who completed psychotherapy. Participants in the MORE group also had greater reductions in pain severity, pain-related functional interference, daily opioid dose, emotional distress, depressive symptoms, and opioid craving.

Both therapies were delivered in 8 weekly 2-hour group sessions. The MORE intervention included components of mindfulness training, cognitive behavioral therapy, and positive psychology. The psychotherapy group discussed ways to cope with pain and opioids’ adverse effects.

The authors attributed the intervention group’s sustained improvements to the approach’s unique mechanisms, ‘including enhanced neurophysiologic responsivity to natural, healthy rewards and improved self-regulation of reactivity to opioid-related cues,” such as the sight of a pill bottle.’


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Gary Ruelas, D.O., Ph.D.

Dr. Ruelas holds doctoral degrees and is licensed to practice in both medicine and psychology. He approaches his patients by gathering and analyzing data differently from other physician’s moving away from a disease model to a holistic functional model. Read Bio

All articles by : Gary Ruelas, D.O., Ph.D.