Washington: A new intervention programme called Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) has been developed for chronic pain patients that decreases their addiction for drugs.
The programme concentrates on helping people gain a sense of meaning and fulfilment in life and embrace pleasures and pain of life without turning to substance use as a coping mechanism.
"The findings are scientifically important because over time, drug abusers become dulled to the experience of joy in everyday life and this pushes them to use higher doses of drugs to feel happiness," explained Eric L. Garland, associate professor at University of Utah College of Social Work, in the US.
Participants 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.
They were taught a "mindful savouring practice" in which they focused attention on pleasant experiences such as a beautiful nature scene.
During meditation, they were taught to focus on colours, textures and scents of a bouquet of fresh flowers and to appreciate joy arising from the experience.
As part of their daily homework, they were then asked to practice the meditation technique as a way to enjoy other pleasant life experiences.
After chronic pain patients misusing opioids went through MORE, they exhibited increased brain activation to natural healthy pleasures, showed the study.
The method is also being tested on people who want to quit smoking or lose weight.
The study appeared in the Journal of Behavioural Medicine.