Emotion dysregulation as a transdiagnostic mechanism of opioid misuse and suicidality among chronic pain patients

Michael R. Riquino, Sarah E. Priddy, Matthew O. Howard, Eric L. Garland

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Chronic pain is a prevalent condition that causes functional impairment and emotional suffering. To allay pain-induced suffering, opioids are often prescribed for chronic pain management. Yet, chronic pain patients on opioid therapy are at heightened risk for opioid misuse-behaviors that can lead to addiction and overdose. Relatedly, chronic pain patients are at elevated risk for suicidal ideation and suicidal behaviors. Main body: Opioid misuse and suicidality are maladaptive processes aimed at alleviating the negative emotional hyperreactivity, hedonic hyporeactivity, and emotion dysregulation experienced by chronic pain patients on opioid therapy. In this review, we explore the role of emotion dysregulation in chronic pain. We then describe why emotionally dysregulated chronic pain patients are vulnerable to opioid misuse and suicidality in response to these negative affective states. Conclusion: Emotion dysregulation is an important and malleable treatment target with the potential to reduce or prevent opioid misuse and suicidality among opioid-treated chronic pain patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11
JournalBorderline Personality Disorder and Emotion Dysregulation
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 6 2018

Keywords

  • Anhedonia
  • Chronic pain
  • Emotion dysregulation
  • Opioid misuse
  • Reinforcement
  • Suicidality

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