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How Does Acupuncture Support Addiction Treatment?

Acupuncture is becoming an increasingly popular complementary treatment for addiction recovery. When this holistic addiction therapy is used in conjunction with other evidence-based treatment strategies, acupuncture can provide pain relief and alleviate some of the uncomfortable symptoms associated with drug and alcohol recovery. This practice, which involves inserting a thin needle in various points of the skin, can help with withdrawal and reduce cravings, which aids in the recovery process.

While acupuncture has recently gained popularity in western countries, the practice is actually thousands of years old. It originated in China and is still used as an alternative or complementary treatment for a variety of conditions, including addiction to alcohol and other substances.

Acupuncture During Drug And Alcohol Detox

Acupuncture is a practice that is both safe and effective. When combined with other therapies, such as group counseling and individual support, acupuncture can improve symptom reduction and aid a person throughout their recovery.

One of the most common uses for acupuncture is in the first days and weeks of addiction recovery when a person is most likely to experience withdrawal. Withdrawing from drugs or alcohol can create a rash of unpleasant symptoms, from shakes and chills to physical pain and insomnia. When applied to certain points of the body, acupuncture can help lessen many of the symptoms of withdrawal and help patients through one of the most physically taxing stages of the recovery process.

Studies On Acupuncture During Detox

While there is a growing interest in using acupuncture as a complementary therapy for addiction treatment, there is also a growing body of evidence that supports the practice. For example, a recent study found that acupuncture does help alleviate many of the symptoms of opioid addiction – however, researchers could not replicate the results with other drugs like cocaine. This might be because acupuncture targets neural pathways that affect opioid addiction, but not cocaine.

Another study found that acupuncture was effective in reducing the withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol in rats, which could prove promising for humans, as well. Acupuncture for alcohol addiction is still an emerging practice, but its initial results seem encouraging. Since acupuncture is completely safe when administered by a trained professional, it can provide benefits to those struggling with withdrawal symptoms, with very little risk.

Acupuncture As A Complementary Addiction Treatment

Acupuncture functions well as a complementary therapy, but it’s important to understand that it does not provide a “cure for addiction.” Effective addiction recovery treatment plans are a combination of psychotherapy and other holistic treatments that effectively reduce cravings and improve quality of life while giving the client tools to control impulses in the future. Acupuncture can be one of many tools that people utilize throughout their recovery, as the following benefits make it worthy of inclusion in a treatment plan.

Acupuncture For Stress Relief 

Stress and anxiety can be a trigger for relapse in many struggling with addiction – particularly in the early points of recovery. Acupuncture can relieve stress and is helpful as part of a client’s overall anxiety-reduction strategy.

Acupuncture For Depression Treatment 

People struggling with addiction often have co-occurring mental health conditions, such as depression. Managing underlying or comorbid mental health disorders is essential to preventing relapse and establishing long-term recovery.

Acupuncture For Management Of Pain 

Opioid addiction often begins with a legitimate pain pill prescription, for relief from an acute or chronic condition. Acupuncture for opioid addiction can be especially beneficial, as it can provide a safe and effective means for pain management without the need for pain-relieving medications. Acupuncture works by stimulating the body’s natural source of painkillers, which alleviates symptoms associated with chronic or acute pain.

Physical pain is a natural aspect of early recovery and treatment, and it may persist for many months. Regular acupuncture therapy can help not only relieve immediate symptoms of withdrawal but any ongoing discomfort, as well.

Acupuncture For Improved Sleep Regulation 

Insomnia is one of the most common reported symptoms of withdrawal and the early recovery stages. This can be especially problematic since a proper sleep schedule is essential to healing and preventing relapse. People who get enough quality sleep tend to experience less stress and anxiety and feel more in charge of their recovery. There are numerous clinical studies that support the idea of using acupuncture to treat insomnia without medication – which can also become habit-forming.

Does Acupuncture Really Help Treating Addiction?

Yes, acupuncture helps in treating the symptoms of addiction, withdrawal, physical pain, and the mental effects of drug and alcohol use. Acupuncture is not a miracle cure for addiction or the problems that addiction brings; however, it can help to address physical and mental symptoms — which many consider to be the hardest part of addiction recovery.

Integrate Acupuncture Into Your Recovery Plan

Acupuncture can be an essential aspect of a comprehensive addiction treatment plan. Harmony Place works with the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association to provide quality acupuncture services to clients in residential detox programs. We use acupuncture and a range of other holistic therapies and evidence-based treatments to help clients achieve their optimum level of comfort during the recovery process. As part of an effective recovery program, acupuncture provides numerous benefits at a relatively low risk.

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