Non-Drug Approach to Treating Pain Could Help Prevent Opioid Addiction: Researchers

A new study finds a non-drug approach to pain management that combines behavioral therapy and social support is effective. The researchers say such an approach could help reduce addiction to opioid painkillers, Science Daily reports.

The study included veterans who were being treated for both pain and addiction. Veterans treated with the non-drug approach to pain reported a decrease in the intensity of their pain and an increase in their ability to function. They also consumed less alcohol than veterans in a traditional support group.

The study, published in Addiction, looked at an approach called ImPAT (Improving Pain During Addiction Treatment) that included 10 weekly sessions. ImPAT helps patients focus less on their pain and more on other aspects of life. They learn to distract themselves from their pain and adapt to it.

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    Jim Sharp

    July 28, 2016 at 1:11 PM

    While these results are welcome, they are not breaking new ground. Research proved 20 years ago that comprehensive psychosocial approaches were the most effective (and least dangerous) ways of managing chronic pain. What killed these approaches back then were (a) the insurance companies refused to pay for anything other than medication and (b) the pharmaceutical companies began aggressively (and deceptively) marketing powerful and highly addictive drugs. I’m not sure much has changed since then.

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