About Beth Darnall

Beth Darnall, PhD, is a Stanford pain scientist, international speaker, evidence-based psychologist, and respected author. She is an advocate for patient-centered pain treatment and research.

International Stakeholder Community of Pain Experts and Leaders Call for an Urgent Action on Forced Opioid Tapering

This week we published in Pain Medicine a letter opposing community-based forced prescription opioid tapering in patients taking long-term prescription opioids. The letter expresses deep concern over a lack of patient protections and evidence to support reductive policies that center on forced opioid tapering, particularly rapidly and to extremely low doses. Indeed, across the U.S. and in other countries, certain prescription policies have moved ahead of the science. Opioid prescribing limitations are being enacted without having clear evidence for [...]

2018-12-15T00:03:06+00:00December 15th, 2018|

My Op-Ed in “The Hill” – A Case for Patient-Centered for Pain Research and Treatment

Healthcare remains a top priority and hotly contested political issue for Americans. Foremost among health concerns are pain treatment, opioids, and access to care. In the run-up to the mid-term elections, The Hill published my Op-Ed on the importance of patient-centered in research, treatment and healthcare policy. A soundbite: “We risk repeating past mistakes by applying a one-size-fits-all regulatory ‘solution’ that fails to address the specific needs of the individual and treat their pain.” Read my [...]

2018-12-14T23:44:48+00:00November 7th, 2018|

National Spotlight: Congressional Briefing, and Advocacy for Patient-Centered Research and Pain Care

Earlier this month I was honored to be an invited speaker at a Washington D.C. Congressional Briefing focused on the “Opioid Recovery Act of 2018.” The open session drew key stakeholders from varied backgrounds. I used my time to describe how my PCORI-funded research project is an important part of the solution. Latest data suggests that almost 18 million Americans are taking long-term prescription opioids. Currently, there is no good evidence for how to best reduce long-term prescription [...]

2018-12-15T11:21:21+00:00October 22nd, 2018|

My “Nature” Editorial – What’s Needed in Pain Research and Care

I was pleased to be invited by Nature to give my thoughts on what is needed in pain research and care ("To treat pain, study people in all their complexity"). Too often, the person is forgotten while the symptom is treated. Our systems must account for the individual variability in the experience and treatment of pain, and to address the unique needs of each person. Psychology is fundamental to the experience of pain, regardless of the [...]

2018-12-15T06:35:51+00:00May 5th, 2018|

O Magazine and Washington Post interviews on opioids

The April 2018 issue of O Magazine includes a few of my comments in an article that addresses addiction risks for opioids ("Why prescription opioids are so addictive" by Peg Rosen). What's not stated in this article is my belief that opioids can and do help some people living with chronic pain. This is a nuanced issue that requires individual consideration and treatment planning. Right now the national focus is on opioid risks, and while I [...]

2018-12-15T06:31:09+00:00April 15th, 2018|

Scientific American: The science of pain relief mindset interventions

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xX4kIBdPToU I was pleased to be invited by Scientific American to post a blog describing our work on targeted mindset interventions for pain relief and opioid reduction. This work holds promises for dismantling common barriers to pain psychology treatment in outpatients and surgical settings because the interventions are brief, low-cost, and some are even online! Read the blog post here.

2018-12-15T10:52:55+00:00April 10th, 2018|

Our new JAMA study on opioid tapering challenges assumptions, holds promise for patients

Chronic pain affects up to one-third of the world population. We recognize that an individual approach to treating pain is needed and that for some patients, prescription opioids are necessary. However, the overemphasis on treating chronic pain with opioids has been associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. With 6.8% of the U.S. population now taking long-term opioids, there is an urgent need to reduce opioids and patient risks and to treat pain better. In my team’s [...]

2018-12-15T06:29:10+00:00February 19th, 2018|

“The Tao of Chronic Pain Relief” My feature in Jan/Feb 2018 issue

I was honored when Stephen Kiesling, the editor of Spirituality & Health, asked me to contribute content on addressing chronic pain with psychological strategies for the magazine. I ended up having a lot to say, and compiled it into a 5-page feature for the Jan/Feb 2018 issue! In the feature I describe the role of psychology in the experience and treatment of pain, and most importantly -- how pain can serve as a useful teacher that guides [...]

2018-12-15T11:02:31+00:00January 4th, 2018|

TIME Features Science-Backed Pain & Stress Relief

Dr. Emma Seppälä and I were pleased to publish in Time Health "3 Science-backed Ways to Relieve Pain and Stress"! We focus on natural, empowering relief techniques that can help you feel better. Stress and pain are inevitable parts of life. As many as 1 in 3 individuals lives with ongoing pain, and everyone is likely to experience it at some point in their life. While you cannot always control what happens to you, you can [...]

2018-12-15T11:04:55+00:00August 9th, 2017|

Changing Mindset for Pain Relief

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is evidence-based medicine for reducing the detrimental effects of negative mindset in the context of pain. Transforming negative mindset is shown to reduce pain and improve pain treatment outcomes. The best part is that psychological treatment is non-pharmacological and very low risk. In fact, treating negative mindset in the context of pain can help pain medications work better – which may lead to fewer pills. Click here to read Beth Darnall’s full story [...]

2018-12-15T11:14:42+00:00May 23rd, 2017|