Can Acupuncture Help Treat Substance Addiction?


Substance addiction is considered as one of the major health problems in the United States. In fact, the number of admission linked to substance abuse is rapidly increasing every day.  Overcoming drug and alcohol addiction is difficult because it often requires different methods and approaches in order to fully experience the success of recovery.

A study shows that acupuncture could be an effective method in treating substance addiction because it produces a calm yet alert feeling which helps reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings. The use of acupuncture as an adjunct treatment program appears to be new hope for people struggling with the destructive pattern of substance addiction – from the relatively less serious ones to those with harmful conditions involving drugs and alcohol.

Substance Addiction

History of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a Chinese herbal therapy used to treat pain conditions such as headaches, neck pain, low back pain, and shoulder pain. As one of the earliest healing method of traditional Chinese medicine, it plays a major role in the healthcare of Chinese people. Since then, acupuncture has become a popular method in treating varieties of ailments and it was not until 1970 when it was first used to treat drug and alcohol addiction in the United States.

While we all know that evidence-based treatment practices are the most common treatment approach in helping substance abuse individuals, many rehab facilities across the country are now implementing acupuncture as part of their comprehensive treatment program. From the ancient herbal use of acupuncture therapy, it has now becoming more popular in the West in treating different forms of addiction including drug and alcohol.

Though it’s not entirely understood how acupuncture helps effectively treat addiction, study shows that acupuncture releases endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin in the body, alleviating drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Also, it helps balances yin and yang energies, allowing the body to self-heal and become balanced again.

The Benefits of Acupuncture

During an acupuncture session, therapist used tiny needles to insert into five different points of ear, which only takes 1 to 2 minutes. Recovering patients will then sit silently for 30 to 40 minutes, typically with dim light. This environment creates a sense of tranquility which makes them feel relaxed.

Some of the benefits of acupuncture include:

  • Promotes the flow of Qi; a person’s circulating life force
  • Helps determine and restore the blockage to Qi
  • Balances and harmonizes Yin and Yang energies
  • Relieves any physical symptoms and other underlying conditions
  • Raises the level of endorphins; the body’s natural painkillers
  • Calms and relieves withdrawal symptoms
  • Reduce drug cravings, sleep disturbance, and anxiety
  • Helps create optimistic attitude towards sobriety

Acupuncture is still perceived as an alternative medicine but the number of rehabilitation centers implementing this practice has continuously been growing. However, despite the proven fact that acupuncture has greater potential of aiding substance addiction, it shouldn’t be considered as a sole cure. It should be understood that it’s only an adjunct therapy to other formal treatment programs to help increase the effectivity of the treatment. Someone struggling with addiction or symptoms of withdrawal must ensure a long-term health treatment for sustainable abstinence and sobriety.

Kelly is a drug and alcohol addiction blogger at RecoveryExperts. She has spent several years, providing readers insights about the most up-to-date development in the field of substance addiction and recovery. She wished to develop an extensive understanding of the broad coverage of substance abuse so that everyone can work together to solve the problem of addiction. You may connect with Kelly via Email

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