Opiates can cause chronic pain via prediction

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Chapter 10 endnote 21, from How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context is:

[The] worldwide epidemic of chronic pain is one of today’s great medical mysteries. [...] One part of the mystery: opioid drugs taken to relieve pain actually have a hand in transforming acute pain into chronic pain.

Opiate drugs such as morphine, if taken regularly, can make you more sensitive to pain. The brain, in an attempt to maintain a balanced body budget, anticipates morphine's analgesic effect by turning up the dial on nociceptive input, even after the non-neural tissue damage has healed.[1][2] This kind of change is called a "compensatory conditioned response."


Notes on the Notes

  1. Lee, Marion, Sanford Silverman, Hans Hansen, and Vikram Patel. 2011. “A Comprehensive Review of Opioid-Induced Hyperalgesia.” Pain Physician 14: 145–161.
  2. Spiegel, Shepard. 2008. "Learning and the wisdom of the body." Learning and Behavior 36 (3): 242-252.