Novel Psychotherapy Targets Chronic Pain with Promising Results

Novel Psychotherapy Targets Chronic Pain with Promising Results
Novel Psychotherapy Targets Chronic Pain with Promising Results. Credit | Getty images

United States : A recent study reveals that a new type of psychotherapy can be more helpful than the industry standard cognitive behavioral remedy( CBT) in treating habitual pain in aged persons.

Study Findings

Researchers published on June 13 in the journal JAMA Network Open that U.S. veterans receiving emotional awareness and expression therapy (EAET) saw a longer and more significant reduction in chronic pain than those receiving cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT).

 The data indicate that 63% of veterans who had EAET experienced at least a 30% decrease in pain, which is regarded as clinically significant. In contrast, just 17% of veterans receiving CBT reported feeling that level of pain relief.

Long-Term Effects

Furthermore, compared to 14% of CBT patients, 41% of EAET participants maintained their pain decreased six months after treatment. Researchers also noted that EAET patients reported higher benefits for resolving PTSD, anxiety, sadness, and life satisfaction.

Most chronic pain sufferers never give psychotherapy a thought. Lead researcher Brandon Yarns, an assistant professor at UCLA Health’s Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioural Sciences, stated, “They’re thinking along the lines of medications, injections, sometimes surgery or bodily treatments like physical therapy.”

EAET, which was created in the 2010s, adopts a distinct strategy by emphasizing emotions, according to academics. It also maintains that stress-related emotions significantly impact how the brain perceives pain.

Therapeutic Insights

Patients are instructed to concentrate on a tense exchange. According to studies, it might be as minor as getting cut off by a car or as serious as experiencing a catastrophic injury or sexual assault.

According to Yarns, the goal is for patients to feel these feelings in both their bodies and minds so they may address them, express their feelings, and eventually let go.

People respond emotionally to stressors and injuries in a variety of typical and natural ways. Anger, guilt, and despair are possible. According to Yarns, people tend to avoid these sentiments because they hurt, but EAET encourages people to face uncomfortable emotions head-on with honesty and self-compassion. “In the end, they are left with self-compassion after being able to release anger, pain, and guilt that they have been carrying through therapy.”

Researchers gathered 126 veterans who were all 60–90 years old and suffering from chronic pain for the study. A psychiatric diagnosis was made for more than two-thirds, with roughly one-third having post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).