Can Acupuncture Help Addiction?

can acupuncture help addiction

How Can Acupuncture Help Addiction

Overcoming drug addiction can be incredibly difficult.  Recently there have been studies that have asked the question, Can Acupuncture Help Addiction?  Those studies are showing that acupuncture can be a highly effective tool in treating drug addiction and aiding in detoxification. By combining acupuncture treatments with counseling and group therapy, patients can find relief from their cravings.   In addition, they find a way to sustain a life of sobriety after substance abuse and addiction.

Treatment description

Acupuncture is increasingly becoming a popular method for controlling a number of different types of addictions. The addictions can vary from hard drugs to milder substances such as nicotine.  Sessions subdue patient cravings for drugs while also creating feelings of calm and relief from withdrawal symptoms.  During a session, paper-thin needles are inserted into five different points of the ear. The client then sits silently for 30-45 minutes, usually with the lights dim. After the session, the patient leaves feeling profoundly calm and relaxed.

Five Acupuncture Points Most Commonly Used

The five points that acupuncture needles are inserted into are:

(1) the autonomic point which calms the nervous system and helps with relaxation
(2) the Shen Men point which helps with anxiety and nervousness
(3) the kidney point for calming fears and healing internal organs
(4) the liver point for detoxification and blood purification
(5) the lung point which improves airflow and helps clients let go of grief.

It is also thought that treating the three points that focus on the liver, lung, and kidneys helps to strengthen these organs and promote healing from damages caused by substance abuse.

Why Acupuncture Helps Addiction

It is not entirely understood how acupuncture is effective in treating drug addiction. Research results show evidence that acupuncture raises the level of endorphins in the nervous system.   The endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers.  Therefore, cravings and withdrawal symptoms can be alleviated by raising endorphin levels. However, Chinese medicine explains the efficacy of acupuncture in a different way.  It describes treatments as a way of balancing yin and yang energies. In a healthy person, yin and yang are described as being in relative balance. However, substance abusers suffer from a deficiency of yin, which is only aggravated by their drug use. Acupuncture treatments nourish the yin energy and causes the substance abuser to feel less desire to consume drugs.

Study Results

Alcohol Study

Acupuncture is increasingly being implemented as part of comprehensive drug rehabilitation treatments.  This is as a result of its efficacy in treating drug addiction and aiding the detoxification process.  In a 1989 study, practitioners treated 80 alcoholics.  Half of the patients received counseling and acupuncture treatments.  And the other half only received the counseling. Patients that received both the acupuncture treatments and counseling were twice as likely to remain alcohol free.

Acupuncture vs. Methadone Study

In another instance, Lincoln Memorial Hospital was opened in 1974, as the first acupuncture detoxification clinic in the U.S.  Acupuncture treatment results were so good among patients, the hospital dropped all methadone treatments that were previously being used.  Acupuncture is a beneficial treatment that far surpasses the use of methadone.  Especially since methadone is a highly addictive substance in its own right.

Unlike methadone treatments, acupuncture is a natural procedure that has no side effects or addictive qualities.  More significantly, it can equally treat a variety of addictions. Now, practitioners from Lincoln Memorial Hospital include acupuncture as part of their comprehensive drug rehabilitation plan that also incorporates counseling, urine testing, and a 12-step group therapy program. The success of acupuncture in treating addiction has even spurred some courts to order acupuncture treatments as part of a comprehensive drug rehab program.

Understanding how to use Acupuncture to support Addiction

Though acupuncture can aid a patient struggling with addiction, it should be understood that it is not a cure but a great tool toward recovery. Acupuncture treatments should always be included as an adjunct to other mental health treatments.  The most common treatment would be counseling, in dealing with drug addiction. However, if you or a loved one are suffering from addiction or drug withdrawal in Portland, acupuncture can be beneficial in treating these ailments. Acupuncture in Portland, along with counseling and therapy, can help to rid you or a loved one of cravings.  And in addition, ensure the continuation of long-term abstinence and sobriety.

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