A GoodTherapy.org News Update
Chronic physical pain with no known source is a problem that affects millions of Americans, wreaking havoc on professional and personal lives and in many cases, paving the way to depression. It seems unfortunate that those who suffer from chronic pain must do so without understanding why they hurt, nor how they can help alleviate the symptoms. This is especially true in the case of children afflicted with chronic pain. Whether it’s a specific body part or generalized aching, some children experience daily difficulties with activities as simple as walking or laying down. There are scores of pain medications on the modern market, but many of these are not suitable for youths, and carry the possibility for long-term drug dependency.
Bringing hope to the situation, a team of researchers from the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm has recently published an evaluation of cognitive behavioral therapy as a treatment for children experiencing chronic pain. Specifically, the researchers employed ACT, or acceptance and commitment therapy, in which the young patients were given tools to come to terms with their pain and move past it in order to achieve a set of goals. The study was composed of two groups of sixteen youths ranging between 10 and 18 years of age. The study group was given ten weeks of the specialized ACT therapy, while the control group received a similar regimen of “typical” talk therapy along with prescription medication. Remarkably, those patients who participated in the specialized therapy reported lowered intensity of pain and a higher daily functionality than those given the traditional treatment. The results suggest that relief for chronic pain sufferers both young and old may be possible without addictive or debilitating medications; a triumph for the principles of acceptance and commitment therapy.
© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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