Co-Morbid Opioid Addiction and Chronic Pain ABSTRACT The primary goal of this K23 - Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award is to provide Dr. Amy Wachholtz, a clinical health psychologist, with the advanced research training, protected time for research, and mentored experiences necessary for her to become an independent researcher in developing and evaluating innovative treatments for opioid addiction and co-morbid pain that are integrative (pharmacotherapy and psychosocial treatment) and novel (CBT and Self-Regulation Techniques). The candidate proposes a program of research and training to meet this career goal including: 1) developing knowledge about the psychological and physiological interactions between opioid addiction and pain , 2) increasing her knowledge about psychological and pharmacological treatment approaches to addiction, 3) building skills in psycho-social treatment development, 4) enhancing her understanding of advanced statistical techniques, and 5) building expertise in grant writing and grant administration. Dr. Wachholtz will be guided by her primary mentor, Gerardo Gonzalez, MD, and two co-mentors, Douglas Ziedonis, MD, MPH, and Martin Cheatle, PhD. Dr. Wachholtz will conduct two distinct studies in the area of co-morbid pain and opioid addiction. The first study (Pain Reactivity Study) is a laboratory study of 120 participants;90 with opioid addiction and chronic pain to identify the unique physiological, psychological, and behavioral responses to induced pain among those on methadone opioid maintenance treatment for opioid addiction (30 participants);on buprenorphine opioid maintenance treatment (30 participants), with an opioid addiction history but prolonged abstinence (6+ months) from opioids (30 participants), and 30 opioid naive participants. Based on findings from the first study, the second study (Intervention Study) will develop and pilot test 30 subjects in an integrated CBT + Self-Regulation psycho-social treatment for co-morbid opioid addiction and pain to decrease substance use, reduce pain, and decrease physiological reactivity to pain and distress. Results will inform a future R01 application to test an integrated treatment for co-morbid pain and opioid addiction. Successful completion of this K23 award will advance Dr. Wachholtz into a career as an independent researcher with the expertise to conduct clinical research trials to improve treatment for co-morbid opioid addiction and pain.

Public Health Relevance

Opioid addiction and pain are common co-morbidities, and pain is strongly related to opioid addiction relapse, yet there is limited knowledge about the unique pain reactions among those with opioid addiction and few treatments. These studies will add to the current knowledge by 1) identifying unique bio-psycho-social responses to pain in those on opioid maintenance;and 2) using this information to develop a novel CBT+ self- regulation intervention to provide a much needed empirically validated treatment option for individuals with co- morbid opioid addiction and pain.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Human Development Research Subcommittee (NIDA)
Program Officer
Aklin, Will
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Massachusetts Medical School Worcester
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Han, Samuel; Patel, Boskey; Min, May et al. (2018) Quality of life comparison between smokers and non-smokers with chronic pancreatitis. Pancreatology 18:269-274
Malone, Christopher; Wachholtz, Amy (2018) The Relationship of Anxiety and Depression to Subjective Well-Being in a Mainland Chinese Sample. J Relig Health 57:266-278
Wachholtz, Amy B; Malone, Christopher D; Pargament, Kenneth I (2017) Effect of Different Meditation Types on Migraine Headache Medication Use. Behav Med 43:1-8
Park, Crystal L; Masters, Kevin S; Salsman, John M et al. (2017) Advancing our understanding of religion and spirituality in the context of behavioral medicine. J Behav Med 40:39-51
Wachholtz, Amy; Bhowmick, Amrita; Herbert, L B et al. (2017) More is not Always Better: An Epidemiological Assessment of Migraine Frequency and the Impact on Relationships. J Pain Manag Med 3:
Wachholtz, Amy B; Fitch, Christina E; Makowski, Suzana et al. (2016) A Comprehensive Approach to the Patient at End of Life: Assessment of Multidimensional Suffering. South Med J 109:200-6
Han, Samuel; Kheder, Joan; Bocelli, Lisa et al. (2016) Smoking Cessation in a Chronic Pancreatitis Population. Pancreas 45:1303-8
Bhattacharya, Rituparna; Shen, Chan; Wachholtz, Amy B et al. (2016) Depression treatment decreases healthcare expenditures among working age patients with comorbid conditions and type 2 diabetes mellitus along with newly-diagnosed depression. BMC Psychiatry 16:247
Dharmawardene, Marisa; Givens, Jane; Wachholtz, Amy et al. (2016) A systematic review and meta-analysis of meditative interventions for informal caregivers and health professionals. BMJ Support Palliat Care 6:160-9
Lee, Jieun; Bhowmick, Amrita; Wachholtz, Amy (2016) Does complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use reduce negative life impact of headaches for chronic migraineurs? A national survey. Springerplus 5:1006

Showing the most recent 10 out of 24 publications