Need to relax? Try Acupuncture.
Acupuncture is becoming a complementary treatment in addiction recovery programs. Auricular or ear acupuncture is a popular form of this treatment that involves shallow insertion of a thin needle at various points on the skin of the external ear to help ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings.
AND IT’S A HELPFUL AID IN TREATING ADDICTION.
Acupuncture has been part of traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, treating everything from excessive pain to mental health issues. It started gaining attention in the ‘West’ during the 1970s and as of late is becoming an accepted mainstream part of medical and addiction treatment.
A 2012 article in the Natural Medicine Journal noted significant relief for people suffering with respiratory issues. Acupuncture relieves stress and congestion in the lungs. A case series published by the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Journal in 2008 reported significant improvement for people with spinal cord injuries and back pain.
The Arthritis and Rheumatology review followed 8 different studies demonstrating marked improvement in patients’ skeletal systems as a result of acupuncture. In separate research, the University of Arizona discovered similar improvement for patients struggling with depression. Acupuncture releases endorphins and other hormones to help modify brain function.
Addiction and relapse can be triggered by many things, including stress, pain and negative emotions. Acupuncture can be an effective resource at relieving these triggers that cause people to use drugs or drink alcohol. Additional studies have also indicated evidence that acupuncture actually reduces cravings for drugs and alcohol, which in of itself is a key driver for relapse.
Each person’s recovery is unique. What works for someone may not work for others. That’s why it’s so critical to be open-minded about all potential proven techniques. Acupuncture has been a mainstay of ‘Eastern’ medicine for millennia, and for good reason. Maybe it’s time you gave it a try.
ALONG WITH HOLISTIC RECOVERY METHODS…
Holistic recovery centers are designed to treat the whole person by improving physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. The treatments provided at these rehab centers are considered alternatives to mainstream or traditional treatments, such as counseling, therapy, and medication.Holistic recovery centers, as well as other rehabs, may incorporate acupuncture into their treatment programs. This alternative treatment can be a part of an individualized treatment plan that addresses a person’s specific needs for recovery and mental health.
Acupuncture’s Effects on Drug Use
It’s not fully understood how acupuncture works. But it is believed to affect the dopaminergic system in the brain. Drugs positively reinforce continued use by inducing feelings of pleasure and euphoria and negatively reinforce it by suppressing withdrawal symptoms, such as dysphoria. Acupuncture is believed to decrease the positive and negative reinforcements of addiction and therefore reduce drug use.
Acupuncture treatments are thought to reduce the positive reinforcement properties of drugs by decreasing the amount of dopamine released when the drug is used. Without the surge of dopamine, the person’s “high” or “buzz” is diminished, and he or she is less likely to use the drug in the future.
Conversely, it is believed that acupuncture treatments decrease the withdrawal properties of drugs, such as dysphoria and distress, that serve to negatively reinforce continued drug use (since a user might otherwise quell withdrawal with more of the abused drug), by inhibiting gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurons and increasing the release of dopamine. This flood of dopamine into the nucleus accumbens in the brain can improve mood and alleviate withdrawal symptoms.