Acupuncture Treatment for Drug Addiction

The Connection Between Mental Emotional Attachment and Physical Dependency

By Paul J.O'Brien
B.A., N.C.E.H.S., Dip. Acu., Cert Clin. Med. M.T.C.M.C.I., M.C.Th.A.

Acupuncture Treatment for Drug Addiction is fast growing in hospitals and treatment centers around the world as a cost effective and reliable form of treatment. In this article I will be explaining some of the background as to how Acupuncture Treatment for Drug Addiction developed and how it works.

Most people thing that treating drug addiction through Acupuncture is a recent phenomenon, and to a degree they are correct. The practice first attracted mainstream medical attention in 1972, when a neurosurgeon in Hong Kong, Dr. H. L. Wen, was using auricular (ear) acupuncture as to relieve pain in a postoperative patient. The patient, who was coincidentally suffering from withdrawal symptoms from opium, informed Dr. Wen that his withdrawal symptoms had subsided. Dr. Wen intrigued later tested the procedure on other patients with similar addictions and their discomfort diminished as well adopting it in to his clinic in 1974.

Of course, this isn’t a new aspect of Acupuncture as it and Traditional Chinese Medicine had been used with great effect to treat addictions to opium and other drugs in the classical texts, however Dr. Wen’s success was the beginnings of it’s introduction to the global medical community.

From here Acupuncture Treatment for Drug Addiction was adopted by American institutes such as Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx, New York City. Here, Dr. Michael Smith, who was involved in Methadone treatment, was searching for an alternative treatment for heroin patients.

Intrigued by Dr. Wen’s results, Dr. Smith began applying the protocol and refined it to five keys points that make up the modern basis for treating drug addiction. It should be noted that treatment is based primarily on a modern medical understanding of Acupuncture and has little basis in the traditional concepts.

So how effective is Acupuncture Treatment for Drug Addiction? Well in 1982 Smith, et al. published that 90% relief of symptoms in acute withdrawal was experienced by clients following acupuncture according to symptom surveys. Furthermore 90% of all detoxification intake clients returned for further acupuncture treatment with no ancillary incentives such as other medications, welfare credit or probation merits and finally an estimated 60% of all acupuncture clients receiving the full series of treatments remained drug free for at least several months. This has lead to the technique being adopted by over 700 licensed drug treatment centers in the United States and more than 800 centers internationally.

With all of that said however, it is important to note that more research needs to be done validate the anecdotal evidence presented and the long term effects. Studies are currently under way to determine the exact effects Acupuncture Treatment for Drug Addiction has.

Finally it’s important to acknowledge that Acupuncture should not be used as a standalone treatment. By providing a complete program including traditional methods, counseling etc and using every tool available to combat addiction the patient stands a much better chance of success.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding Acupuncture Treatment for Drug Addiction or wish to start a course of treatment then please feel free to contact me or make an appointment where we can discus any specific concerns or questions you may have.

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