Acupuncture May Be Effective Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Treatment for drug addiction is very challenging, because many of the individuals who complete treatment find that they are unable to avoid relapse once they are back in their normal routines. Treatment often involves cognitive behavioral therapy, but experts are looking for other types of treatment to supplement the strategies used in therapy.

Acupuncture is a treatment often used for various physical and mental ailments. Because it is a low-cost treatment, many find that it is worthwhile to try it. However, there has been little research on its effects in some types of treatment, such as its usefulness for treating addictions.

A new study conducted by researchers at Yale University may provide support for the use of acupuncture to treat addiction patients. The study examined the effects of acupuncture on the outcomes of patients treated for cocaine addiction.

The researchers recruited 82 participants who completed treatment for cocaine addiction. All of the patients had achieved sobriety through the participation in individual and group therapy. The participants were then divided into three treatment groups for the duration of the eight-week study.

In the first group, the participants were treated with ear acupuncture. In this type of acupuncture, needles are inserted into the outer ear. The specific locations chosen and targeted on the outer ear are believed to aid in treating addiction problems.

A second group of participants was treated with acupuncture in the outer ear as well. These specific locations are not believed to be associated in any way with treating addiction.

A third group of participants was shown videotapes that featured images of natural settings.

The findings, published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, indicate that it may be an effective strategy to incorporate acupuncture into the treatment for cocaine addiction. The researchers found that approximately 54 of the participants that received the acupuncture targeting the areas of the outer ear known to affect addiction did not test positive for cocaine in the final week of the study.

By contrast, the group who had ear acupuncture without targeting addiction-related areas tested clean for cocaine at a rate of 23.5 percent. The videotape group had a rate of 9.1 percent clean when tested for cocaine.

The group tested in addiction-specific areas of the ear with acupuncture also had longer periods of sobriety maintenance than the other two groups tested.

The information gained by this study may provide support for the use of acupuncture in conjunction with other types of therapy to achieve higher rates of sobriety among cocaine addiction patients.

Posted on January 20th, 2012
Posted in Articles

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