Restorations Therapy Blog

The Necessity of a Cultural Shift: Using Psychological Interventions for Preventing Opioid Misuse

by on Friday, February 7th, 2020

Although psychological-based interventions and treatments prove extremely helpful for preventing opioid misuse, as evidenced by numerous studies and extensive research, widespread implementation of these treatments requires a large cultural shift towards a biopsychosocial model of treatment. The biopsychosocial model is a way to understand health and illness through biological, psychological, and social aspects. This multifaceted approach covers all facets that encompass the emergence of mental illness and the development of substance use disorders (SUDs), such as opioid use disorder (OUD).

The Current Culture Versus a Cultural Shift

If you turn on the television, you will notice numerous commercials advertising medications for multiple ailments. These television ads promote drugs to help people deal with pain and offer pills as solutions for everything. The shift needs to involve less promotion of drugs to treat ailments such as depression, sleep issues, or chronic pain, and more education as to why these ailments occur in the first place. People need to understand the connection between their brains and bodies and learn this knowledge at young ages so that we begin listening to our bodies and what it needs rather than silencing the negative thoughts, emotions, and physical problems with medications.  

The cultural shift can only occur with the participation of physicians, teachers, and education from parents. Furthermore, psychologists and physicians require more extensive education in pain management. A national survey conducted in 2016 revealed that over half of all psychologists reported having inadequate training involving treating individuals who experience pain. Unfortunately, when these practitioners do not feel competent in certain areas, they tend to avoid it completely. For example, a psychologist not trained in pain management would not ask patients about their pain since they feel as if they have nothing to offer that patient for their ailment. This discrepancy creates a challenge in that many patients who seek help for mental health issues also experience accompanying pain. 

Are You Seeking Help?

The American Psychological Associating (APA) published a book and an online continuing education course focused on pain psychology to help train psychologists in this much-needed area of study.  Research and data continue to accumulate, and therefore pain and treatment approaches to pain emerge, allowing treatment providers, such as psychologists, to develop personalized interventions for pain management. 

Located in Centennial, Colorado, Restoration Therapy works with patients who are struggling with addiction, intimacy disorders, and trauma who are seeking treatment. Restoration Therapy offers individualized and group therapy, workshops, psycho-educational classes, and more to. For more information, please call us at (720) 446-658

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