How Can Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) Impact Opioid Misuse and Chronic Pain?

April 16, 2024

Opioid misuse has emerged as a significant public health crisis, with chronic pain often being a key contributing factor. This article explores the potential of an intervention strategy known as Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) in addressing these parallel epidemics. By using the keywords opioid, pain, mindfulness, misuse, chronic, scholar, google, more, crossref, group, garland, participants, pmc, addiction, recovery, therapy, intervention, supportive, oriented, psychotherapy, we’ll delve into how MORE can be used as a supportive therapy for individuals struggling with opioid addiction and chronic pain.

Understanding the Impact of Opioid Misuse and Chronic Pain

The misuse of opioids and the struggle with chronic pain are two intertwined issues that have increasingly gained attention in recent years. Information derived from Google scholar and Crossref databases indicate a worrying increase in cases of opioid misuse, primarily driven by the use of these medications for managing chronic pain. Misuse often leads to addiction, a complex condition characterized by compulsive drug use despite harmful consequences.

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According to the PMC database, opioids are potent pain relievers. However, their long-term use can lead to dependency, causing physical and mental health issues, and even death. Chronic pain, on the other hand, is a persistent pain that lasts for weeks, months, or even years. It can be a result of an injury or an underlying health condition, and it significantly affects the quality of life of the sufferers.

The Emergence of Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE)

The Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) is a novel psychotherapy approach designed to address addiction, stress, and chronic pain. Developed by scholar Eric Garland, the MORE intervention involves the first group therapy that integrates principles from mindfulness training, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and positive psychology.

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Studies involving participants who’ve undergone the MORE intervention report significant reductions in pain symptoms and cravings for opioids. By training individuals to shift their attention away from drug cravings and negative emotions, and towards natural, healthy pleasures, MORE fosters cognitive control and positive emotion regulation, key elements in addiction recovery.

How MORE Works: The Science Behind the Approach

MORE utilizes mindfulness training, reappraisal, and savoring to alter the cognitive, emotional, and neurobiological processes implicated in opioid misuse and chronic pain.

In mindfulness training, participants are taught to focus their attention on experiences occurring in the present moment, non-judgmentally. The increased awareness of bodily sensations, thoughts, and feelings allows individuals to perceive pain as merely a sensation rather than a distressing experience.

Reappraisal involves the reinterpretation of emotional responses or situations to alter their emotional impact, while savoring refers to the conscious attention to, and the awareness of, positive experiences. This enhances the capacity to extract pleasure from ordinary life events, thereby reducing the need for opioid use as a source of reward or relief.

The Efficacy of MORE in Supporting Opioid Recovery and Chronic Pain Management

Given the potential harm caused by opioid misuse, finding an effective supportive intervention is critical. A growing body of research suggests that MORE offers an effective approach to managing chronic pain and reducing opioid misuse.

In a study published by Garland and colleagues, participants who underwent the MORE intervention reported a significant decrease in pain severity and improvements in physical functioning. There was also a substantial reduction in opioid misuse among the group compared to a supportive-oriented psychotherapy group.

These findings offer hope for individuals grappling with opioid misuse and chronic pain, suggesting that MORE could be a practical, effective component of a comprehensive pain management and opioid misuse recovery strategy.

In summary, the MORE approach provides a promising alternative for addressing the twin crises of opioid misuse and chronic pain. Its emphasis on mindfulness, reappraisal, and savoring, allows individuals to regain control over their attention, emotions, and cravings. While further research is needed, the potential impact of MORE could be a game-changer in the fight against the opioid crisis and chronic pain management.

Detailed Overview of MORE: Techniques and Strategies

Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) distinctively links mindfulness training, cognitive reappraisal, and savoring techniques to craft an intervention aimed at addressing both opioid misuse and chronic pain management.

At the core of the MORE methodology is mindfulness, a state of active, open attention on the present. In mindfulness training, participants learn to observe their thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them as good or bad. This technique, according to Google Scholar and PubMed Crossref databases research, helps individuals to not only recognize and tolerate their pain but also to uncouple the sensation of pain from the emotional suffering it can cause.

Cognitive reappraisal constitutes the next strategy in MORE. It involves reframing or reinterpreting the emotional response to a situation or experience. When applied to chronic pain or opioid misuse, this strategy can help individuals create a new, less distressing narrative about their experiences, reducing the emotional impact of these issues.

Lastly, there’s savoring, an awareness of, and the ability to attend to, positive experiences. By focusing on the good moments in life, individuals can effectively enhance their capacity to derive pleasure from everyday events, thereby reducing their dependence on opioids for joy or relief.

The Effectiveness of MORE: Evidence from Randomized Clinical Trials

Evaluating the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions is crucial in the mental health field, and MORE is no exception. According to a randomized clinical trial published by Scholar Garland and his team, MORE demonstrated clear benefits in reducing opioid misuse and managing chronic pain.

In this trial, participants were randomly assigned to either a MORE group or a supportive psychotherapy group. The MORE group reported significant decreases in their pain severity and substantial improvements in physical functioning. Most notably, the MORE group showed a marked reduction in opioid misuse compared to the supportive group.

Moreover, participants in the MORE group reported a decrease in their opioid craving, a critical factor in the cycle of addiction. They also decreased their opioid dose more than those in the supportive group, underlining the potential of MORE as a valuable tool in primary care settings for individuals grappling with opioid addiction and chronic pain.

Conclusion: The Potential of MORE in the Fight Against Opioid Misuse and Chronic Pain

The twin crises of opioid misuse and chronic pain present a significant challenge for individuals, healthcare providers, and society as a whole. Nonetheless, approaches like Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) offer a glimmer of hope.

By integrating mindfulness, cognitive reappraisal, and savoring techniques, MORE equips individuals with practical tools to manage their chronic pain, control their opioid cravings, and ultimately, reduce their opioid misuse. Empirical results from randomized clinical trials support the effectiveness of MORE, making it a promising alternative therapy worth considering.

Despite the encouraging results, MORE, like any other therapy, is not a panacea. It is crucial to continue research into this and other supportive therapies to further refine them and understand their limitations. However, as we stand today, the potential of MORE in addressing the intertwined epidemics of opioid misuse and chronic pain is unequivocal. With continued application and research, MORE can significantly contribute to turning the tide on these devastating health crises.