School of Nursing
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
opioids, pain management, alternative therapy, psychotherapy
Whorley, Charity Harold, "How Effective is Psychotherapy in Reducing Opioid Usage among Patients with Chronic Pain?" (2021). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 3013.
The purpose of this integrative review is to evaluate the effectiveness of psychotherapy in the management of chronic pain thorough a comprehensive review and synthesis of current literature on the topic. Chronic pain is a prevalent condition throughout America with an estimated 30% of the population affected. As such, it is a common condition encountered in primary care. At one point the mainstay of treatment was opioid therapy. Unfortunately, this along with other issues has contributed to an overprescribing of narcotics and ultimately the opioid crisis in America. Healthcare providers are in a unique position to assist in reversing this trend through responsible prescribing practices, patient education, and adequate knowledge of alternative therapies to opioids. Long term use of opioids has been shown to lead to tolerance and dependence and their efficacy has been questioned in the treatment of chronic pain. Alternative therapies such as psychotherapy have shown positive results in treating chronic pain along with depression which is often a comorbid condition. A thorough review and understanding of this therapy dynamic and the complex nature of chronic pain, can aid in treating the patient effectively while eliminating or reducing the need for opioid therapy.