From the Journals

Mindfulness intervention curbs opioid misuse, chronic pain


 

‘Powerful program’

To date, Dr. Garland has trained more than 450 physicians, nurses, social workers, and psychologists in health care systems across the country to implement MORE as an insurance-reimbursable group visit for patients in need.

One of them is Nancy Sudak, MD, chief well-being officer and director of integrative health, Essentia Health, Duluth, Minn.

Dr. Nancy Sudak, chief well-being officer and director of integrative health, Essentia Health, Duluth, Minn. Essentia Health

Dr. Nancy Sudak

“MORE is a very powerful program that teaches patients how to turn down the volume of their pain. I’ve been quite impressed by the power of MORE,” Dr. Sudak told this news organization

She noted that “buy-in” from patients is key – and the more a clinician knows a patient, the easier the buy-in.

“I recruited most of the patients in my groups from my own practice, so I already knew the patients quite well and there wasn’t really a need to sell it,” Dr. Sudak said.

“We have tried to operationalize it through our system and find that, as long as our recruitment techniques are robust enough, it’s not that hard to find patients to fill the groups, especially because chronic pain is just so common,” she added.

Dr. Sudak has found that patients who participate in MORE “bond and learn with each other and support each other. Patients love it, providers love it, and it’s a way to address isolation and loneliness” that can come with certain conditions.

“There are really only upsides to the group visit model and I think we’ll be seeing quite a bit more of it in the future,” she added.

Evidence-based data

Anna Parisi, PhD, is also delivering MORE to patients. She told this news organization, she was “really drawn” to the MORE program because oftentimes patients who require the most sophisticated therapies receive the ones with the least evidence.

This is often “what folks in the community are getting when they’re struggling with substance use,” added Dr. Parisi, a postdoctoral research associate working with Dr. Garland at the University of Utah. Dr. Parisi was not a coauthor on the current study.

“With MORE, all of the strategies and techniques are tied to mechanistic studies of their efficacy, so you know that what you’re delivering has a rationale behind it,” she said.

Like Dr. Sudak, Dr. Parisi said her patients, for the most part, have been receptive to the program. Although at first some were skeptical about mindfulness – with one patient using the term “tree-hugging” – they found immediate benefit even after the first session.

“That really helps them stay motivated to finish the program,” Dr. Parisi said.

This work was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Dr. Garland serves as director of the Center on Mindfulness and Integrative Health Intervention Development, which provides MORE, mindfulness-based therapy, and CBT in the context of research trials for no cost to research participants. He receives honoraria and payment for delivering seminars, lectures, and teaching engagements related to training clinicians in MORE and mindfulness and receives royalties from BehaVR and from the sales of books related to MORE outside the submitted work. Dr. Sudak and Dr. Parisi have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

A version of this article first appeared on Medscape.com.

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