Published by Psychiatry Advisor

In response to a call for improved pain management training from the Institute of Medicine and the Oversight Committee for the NIH Health and Human Services National Pain Strategy, a task force assessed stakeholders’ perspectives on pain psychology and outlined needed resources.

Chronic pain is estimated to affect over 100 million people in the US and is associated with an annual financial burden of up to $635 billion. Though psychology has long been recognized as essential in alleviating the pain experience, and a sizable body of research has underscored the importance of psychological factors in pain management and outcomes, these interventions are often overlooked or minimally addressed.

Instead, the typical treatment approach is based on a biomedical model rather than a biopsychosocial one. “A remaining focus on the biomedical approach to pain treatment is simply a vestige of the past and a reflection of enduring educational needs for medical providers and all healthcare clinicians,” as well as public education, said Beth Darnall, PhD, a clinical associate professor in the Division of Pain Medicine at Stanford University, and co-chair of the Pain Psychology Task Force at the American Academy of Pain Medicine.

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