Chronic Pain Patients Swapping Opioids for Medical Cannabis

Almost one third of patients with chronic pain report using medical cannabis to manage that pain, with more than half of them decreasing use of other pain medications, including opioids, new research shows. “That patients report substituting cannabis for pain medicines so much really underscores the need for research on the benefits and risks of … Read more

Do Buddhist Teachings Protect Against Depression?

Following five key Buddhist teachings may help protect against depression, new research shows. A study from Thailand showed that among people who observed what are known as the Five Precepts of Buddhism ― not to kill, steal, engage in sexual misconduct, tell ill-intentioned lies, or use intoxicants ― rates of depressive symptoms were significantly lower … Read more

Meditation Equal to First-Line Medication for Anxiety

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is as effective at reducing anxiety as the antidepressant escitalopram, a first-line pharmaceutical treatment, new research shows. “I would encourage clinicians to list meditation training as one possible treatment option for patients who are diagnosed with anxiety disorders. “Doctors should feel comfortable recommending in-person, group-based meditation classes,” study investigator Elizabeth A. … Read more

Mindfulness ‘Changes the Biology’ of Pain

New research provides novel insight into how mindfulness alters pain-related activity in the brain, in findings that point to more targeted pain management. In a randomized trial, more than 100 healthy individuals were assigned to an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program, a health improvement program (HEP) of the same length, or a waiting list. … Read more

Virtual Reality an ‘Exciting Opportunity’ for Geriatric Psychiatry

Researchers are reality turning their attention to virtual VR for the treatment of psychiatric disorders in older adults. Recent studies have highlighted the usefulness of VR in treating depression and loneliness in older patients who may be socially isolated because of their age, comorbidities, or the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr Harmehr Sekhon “The unique capability of … Read more

Unexpected Effect of Muscle Relaxation on Grief Severity

DENVER — A first-of-its-kind study evaluating a mindfulness intervention to ease unexpected grief showed that the control treatment, progressive muscle relaxation, was more effective. Dr Lindsey Knowles “Both progressive muscle relaxation and mindfulness training were shown to improve severity, yearning, depression symptoms, and stress; [but] The results from this study suggest that progressive muscle relaxation … Read more

Self-care Tips for Clinicians as COVID-19 Lingers

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center. LAS VEGAS – While frontline health care workers may have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire workforce has experienced some level of anxiety, stress, loss, grief, and trauma, according to Jon A. Levenson, MD. Dr Jon Levenson “There … Read more