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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain—One Therapeutic Approach for the Opioid Epidemic


Journal of Psychiatric Practice®: November 2017 - Volume 23 - Issue 6 - p 409–414
doi: 10.1097/PRA.0000000000000262

Opioids are frequently prescribed for chronic pain. For the past 2 decades, long-term opioid analgesic therapy was considered the cornerstone of effective pain management for chronic nonmalignant conditions, despite a lack of documented effectiveness and safety, with the attendant risk of addiction, overdose, and death. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be used effectively to treat chronic pain, either as a stand-alone treatment or with other nonopioid pharmacological treatments. CBT improves pain-related outcomes along with mobility, quality of life, and disability and mood outcomes. Compared with long-term use of opioids, CBT has dramatically lower risks and may therefore be worth pursuing.

MAJEED: Attending Psychiatrist, Natchaug Hospital, Mansfield Center, CT

SUDAK: Professor of Psychiatry, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Please send correspondence to: Muhammad Hassan Majeed, MD, 11 A Stott Avenue, Norwich, CT 06360(e-mail:

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