Relationships Between Pain Treatments and Substance Use at a VA Mental Health Residential Rehabilitation Program

Jesse Quinn Williams, The College at Brockport


Pain is a universal reality, which affects high percentages of individuals in both the general population and the U.S. veteran population. Additionally, pain conditions are often complicated by co-occurring substance misuse. This study explored the functional relationships between various treatments for pain in a VA Mental Health Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program. Data from 27 MHRRTP client records was used to form three independent variables: pharmacotherapy, individual psychotherapy for pain and group counseling for pain. This study examined the relationship between the stated independent variables and four dependent variables: changes in pain level ratings, substance use, risk factors for relapse to substance abuse, protective factors for sobriety. Though many of our results showed little statistical significance, they provide clear indications for program and clinical improvements and implications further research.