An intervention program for chronic pain patients called Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement decreased patients' desire for prescription drugs, showed a new study.
The study conducted at University of Utah suggested that more intervention concentrates on helping people to recover a sense of meaning and fulfillment in everyday life, embracing its pleasures and pain without turning to substance use as a coping mechanism.
Eric L. Garland, associate professor at the University of Utah College of Social Work. Garland and colleagues' study received eight weeks of instruction in applying mindfulness-oriented techniques to alleviate pain and craving while strengthening positive emotions and the sense of reward and meaning in life.
Garland's studies were taught a "mindful savoring practice," in which they focused attention on pleasant experiences such as a beautiful nature scene, sunset or feeling of connection with a loved one. In a meditation session, participants were taught to focus their awareness on colors, textures and scents of a bouquet of fresh flowers and to appreciate joy arising from the experience.
Garland said that these findings were scientifically important because one of the major theories about how and why addiction occurs asserted that over time drug abusers become dulled to the experience of joy in everyday life and this pushed them to use higher and higher doses of drugs to feel happiness.
Garland added that this study suggested that this process could be reversed as they could teach people to use mindfulness to appreciate and enjoy life more, and by doing that, they may feel less of a need for addictive drugs.
The study is published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine.