NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Garland To Lecture on Innovative Strategy for Reducing Pain, Addiction

Dr. Garland
Dr. Eric Garland

This spring, NCCIH will host two virtual lectures on a theme of “Novel Approaches at the Intersection of Mental Health and Pain” as part of its Integrative Medicine Research Lecture Series. The events are rescheduled from spring 2020 and reflect several of the center’s research priorities.

On Tuesday, May 4 at noon ET, Dr. Eric Garland will present on “Healing the Opioid Crisis with Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE): Clinical Efficacy and Neurophysiological Mechanisms.” Garland is professor and associate dean for research at the University of Utah College of Social Work and director of the Center on Mindfulness and Integrative Health Intervention Development.  

Some of our most pressing “diseases of despair,” such as addiction and chronic pain, disrupt the brain’s capacity to experience healthy pleasure and extract meaning from naturally rewarding events and experiences. For example, prolonged opioid use in the context of chronic pain and distress can blunt positive emotions and compel opioid misuse as a way to hold on to a shrinking sense of well-being. 

Garland will describe the development and testing of an integrative, nondrug treatment strategy, MORE. This approach unites traditional mindfulness meditation practices with techniques from cognitive behavioral therapy and principles of positive psychology. Rooted in affective neuroscience, MORE is designed to reduce addictive behavior and improve physical and emotional pain by restructuring reward processes in the brain. 

The lecture will be streamed at Find details about the series at

The second virtual lecture, “Cooperative Pain Education and Self-Management (COPES): A Technology-Assisted Intervention for Pain,” will be on Tuesday, June 8 at noon ET, by Dr. Alicia Heapy, Yale School of Medicine and VA Connecticut Healthcare System.

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The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

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