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Acupuncture For Addiction Treatment

Acupuncture is a holistic practice that helps calm the mind, body and spirit. Its positive effects on addiction and recovery are plenty.

Understanding Acupuncture

Johns Hopkins Medicine defines acupuncture as, “the practice of penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles which are then activated through gentle and specific movements of the practitioner’s hands or with electrical stimulation.” The holistic practice has in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years and offers patients relief for various health ailments. Some include mental health assistance for anxiety, while others include physical relief like relaxed muscle tension and better sleep. Because of acupuncture’s growth in popularity and its effects, over 2,000 alcohol and drug rehabilitation facilities have included it as part of their services.

The process is done by a practitioner using small, hair thin needles to connect to different pathway points in the body. The patient lays still and generally feels little to no pain during the process. Yale School of Medicine notes needles are placed in 5 major points: the Autonomic Point (calming the nervous system), the Shen Men (spirit gate, reducing anxiety), the Kidney Point (calming fears, healing internal organs), the Liver Point (detoxification), and the Lung Point (releasing grief). Depending on the type, needle placements may vary for patients in rehab facilities.

Effects On The Body

Acupuncture needles function by unblocking energy that may be causing pain, cramps, and other sources of discomfort in the body. The needle is typically painless, and once inserted, creates an energizing sensation in some and a relaxing one in others. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, acupuncture can assist with some of the following conditions:

  • Hepatitis
  • Addiction
  • Infertility
  • Neurosis
  • Gastritis
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Menstrual pain
  • Headaches
  • Lower back pain
  • Stiff neck
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Dental pain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tourette Syndrome
  • Sinusitis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Depression
  • Cravings

The needles are placed in different depths of the body, and the practitioner may gently move some around during the procedure. Mayo Clinic states after 10 to 20 minutes of insertion, needles are moved.

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Acupuncture For Alcohol Addiction And Withdrawal

Attempting to avoid alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be a motivating factor for repeated alcohol abuse. For example, someone who is alcohol dependent or has a tolerance for drinking may experience tremors, seizures, and anxiety as a withdrawal symptom when they stop consuming alcohol. As a result, the individual may drink to try and relive those symptoms, possibly fostering a dependence. Acupuncture can aid in suppressing some substance abuse withdrawal symptoms, with ongoing studies finding interesting results.

Although much research is still being done, researchers have found that the benefits of acupuncture can help with alcohol withdrawal and addiction. In a study where some lab rats received acupuncture and others did not, symptoms like tremors, anxiety, and stress as a result of alcohol withdrawal were lower in the rats that received acupuncture than those that didn’t. Additionally, rats who had acupuncture in the study showed higher endorphin levels, helping scientists deduce that this practice can help with alcohol withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Acupuncture For Drug Addiction And Withdrawal

The National Library of Medicine cites 85 research articles supporting the efficacy of acupuncture for drug addiction treatment. While the results varied based on factors like the type of drug, age, and gender, scientists found interesting results. AcupunctureToday.com includes findings from a 2001 study that says, “patients getting acupuncture as part of their treatment were more probable to complete detox successfully as well as remain in drug rehab treatment.” A study from Yale School of Medicine revealed 54.8% of individuals who were addicted to Cocaine, “tested free of Cocaine during the last week of treatment,” compared to 23.5% and 9.1% of participants from groups that did not receive acupuncture. In addition, those who opted for acupuncture had longer timeframes of abstinence than other control groups.

The same Science Advances study conducted on lab rats that highlighted acupuncture’s effect on alcohol withdrawal also examined Opioids. The study noted acupuncture on rats helped Heroin withdrawal symptoms related to stress. A study published in the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing examined 15 patients going through drug withdrawal who tried acupuncture. The results cited positive outcomes such as peacefulness and harmony. Additional benefits for Nicotine and Benzodiazepines withdrawal in this study included reduced drug cravings and inner peace. Further benefits included anxiety, nausea, headache, and high heart rate reduction.

Acupuncture In Rehab

Acupuncture is a strong option for patients seeking holistic care and is used as part of drug detox and craving management in participating facilities. The procedure can improve emotional, mental, and physical ailments. In addition, patients wanting to focus on alternative treatments like yoga, massage, or meditation in addition to group treatment can enroll in facilities catering to overall wellness. Costs can range between $75 to $95 for a medical consultation; however, visits can cost between $50 to $70. Prices can vary if a patient receives care in a rehab facility, or if a patient has health insurance to cover costs. The best way to get prices of costs and services in individual facilities is to contact the facility for quotes and details of programs.

Get Help Today

Those with loved ones or individuals who battle addiction can take comfort in finding holistic treatments. Although acupuncture may not be available in every rehab facility, there are some that offer such services. Contact a treatment provider to learn about treatment facilities and begin your recovery journey.

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