Acupuncture is a form of treatment used in Chinese medicine that has only recently become accepted as a viable method of treatment in the United States. The theory behind accupuncture is based on the balance between the opposites, yin and yang. The Chinese believe that yin (the water element) nourishes the body, and yang (the fire element) consumes. If these are out of balance, there can be physiological effects such as hyperactivity, and psychological effects such as emptiness and desperation. In the case of a drug addict, it is believed that the deficiency of yin (nourishment) contributes to continued substance abuse.

Traditional accupuncture therapy is conducted by inserting needles under the skin at different points on the body which are believed to correspond to major organs of the body to facilitate healing and well-being. There have been new developments in accupuncture therapy that indicate those specific points on the body have a corresponding point on the ear which can have the same effect on healing when needles are inserted there. This is known as auricular accupuncture. One advantage of this form of accupuncture is that it requires less privacy, therefore, more people can be treated at once.

How Does Acupuncture Help in Drug Addiction Treatment?

Although acupuncture is not a physical cure for addiction, it can provide a soothing, relaxing benefit for the addict during intense withdrawal symptoms. This, in turn, can provide a positive effect on the overall success of any treatment regimen. If the addict feels these positive results during accupuncture therapy, they are more encouraged to continue treatment and eventually recover from the addiction.

The overall effect of accupunture on the individual is that of a calming effect which reduces cravings. There is evidence that accupuncture raises endorphin levels in the nervous system which gives a sense of well-being. Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators, and increased levels of these endorphins can produce a sense of euphoria. In many cases, accupuncture has been used in place of potentially addictive drugs such as methadone, and has shown successful results in controlling cravings.

When used a part of a comprehensive treatment program, accupuncture is effective in controlling addiction. Combined with counseling and support in a professional inpatient setting, accupunture therapy can help make the transition and recovery from drugs more comfortable and lasting.


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