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Emotional Pain: The Effect of Clinical Treatment on Perceived Physical Pain
AuthorOtt, Peter William
Human Development and Family Studies
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AbstractIn working with clients suffering from mental health disorders including but not limitedto post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder (MDD), and bipolardisorders, comorbid with substance use disorders (SUD’s), it has become evident that thesuffering of both physical and emotional pain plays a role in the underlying risk factorsfor addiction. This research attempted to discover a correlation between the reduction ofemotional pain and the subsequent lowering of perceived physical pain in individualsseeking treatment for addiction. The intention of this study was not only to determine if acorrelation between mental and physical pain existed, but to also reduce dependence onboth prescription and illicit pain killers in order to develop additional protective factors inthose suffering from addiction. Participants engaged in 12 weeks of group and one onone sessions where they underwent treatment for emotional pain using Dr. Lisa Najavits,PhD’s Seeking Safety model of care. A physical and a mental pain questionnaire usedpre and post study determined perceived levels of pain by measuring its change after 12-weeks of treatment. Medication levels pre and post treatment were monitored and ifaltered, participants results were omitted from the study. Directionality may not be ableto be proven for the reduction of perceived pain; however, this study added to theliterature confirming the effectiveness of trauma-informed care (TIC) in reducing theinvasive symptoms of PTSD and the perceived levels of physical and emotional painresulting in lowered substance use. The results clearly showed a connection betweenemotional and physical pain adding to the understanding that all pain is perceived.Keywords: Emotional pain, physical pain, trauma, substance abuse, addiction,Seeking Safety, treatment, comorbidity, post-traumatic stress disorder.