For individuals suffering from chronic pain while also managing a substance use disorder (SUD), treatment results can be adverse, but non-drug coping mechanisms are essential in avoiding further drug treatment, according to a 2016 study published in the journal Addiction, which explored the efficacy of pain management intervention without using opioids in veterans struggling with addiction.
The results acknowledged the demand for addiction treatment to provide a multifaceted path that not only addresses substance use, but also the additional elements that could be causing substance use and pain, stated lead author Mark Ilgen, a University of Michigan and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) psychologist specializing in addiction studies.
Addiction treatment centers normally medicate people who deal with chronic pain but offer slim options to address the pain, and long-term use of powerful painkillers can potentially lead to hypersensitivity, which, in turn, may provide a causal link between pain and the medications, Ilgen stated.
Lingering chronic pain can lead to further use of dangerously addictive opioid-based medications, but researchers from the University of Michigan Addiction Research Center and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System’s Center for Clinical Management Research hope that ImPAT (Improving Pain during Addiction Treatment) will help patients with SUD stave off further health issues and substance abuse treatment.
ImPAT pairs behavioral therapy and social support, which applies techniques that help patients adapt to pain, distract from pain, and conceive techniques to function concurrently with pain.
In one group of 55 veterans, the approach was used for a total of 10 weekly meetings which resulted in positive effects that lasted approximately a year, according to the new results.
A less-focused approach was used on the second group of veterans, led by a therapist. Follow-up assessments for both groups were held at… (continue reading)