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Pain can be a relief
Date:2/26/2013

procedure or treatment is going to be very painful?

"In some situations this may be a good approach, but not always," replies Dr Leknes. "Doctors observe that their patients react very differently to the information they are given; certain patients are likely to experience a genuine sense of relief if they prepare for the worst only to find it not so bad after all, whereas others prefer to avoid worrying beforehand and want to know as little as possible about what they will be undergoing," she explains.

Substance abuse from pleasure to relief

The study has been partially funded under the Programme on Alcohol and Drug Research (RUSMIDDEL) at the Research Council of Norway. "Relief is also likely a vital factor in substance abuse," asserts Dr Leknes.

"Over time, the effect of alcohol and drugs will change from triggering feelings of pleasure to primarily alleviating the discomfort of addiction. The brain's regulatory processes change, causing substance abusers to experience a shift; at some point, they use alcohol and drugs in order to achieve a neutral state and avoid feeling awful," explains Dr Leknes.

"By studying relief in order to understand how this process works, we can come up with new ideas for treating substance dependence more effectively. From our pain research, we know that the relief mechanisms in the brains of patients with chronic pain become disrupted. This may be something shared by patients suffering from pain and alcohol and drug addiction alike," she concludes.


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Contact: Thomas Keilman
thke@rcn.no
The Research Council of Norway
Source:Eurekalert

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