Addiction Treatment with Acupuncture

Alternative Addiction Treatment with Acupuncture

To rid themselves of a drug addiction some people will be willing to bring on the pins and needles.  Yes, that’s right, acupuncture is now becoming a common alternative treatment element in many addiction programs.  Right along with yoga, mindfulness, and deep breathing exercises, acupuncture offers a new approach to ending one’s addiction.

Addiction treatment with acupuncture is not new.  Though acupuncture has been in practice for thousands of years, it was first introduced for aiding detox and withdrawal symptoms in 1974.  It was initially used to help people ease off of methadone using the ear/lung point, and the results were encouraging.  Reduction in opiate withdrawal symptoms and improved program retention resulted, which led to continued developments in using acupuncture for addiction.  Currently, a five-point acupuncture protocol is the norm, which includes ear point combinations with other major organs.

Opiate Addiction Treatment with Acupuncture

Acupuncture originates from ancient Chinese culture where it has been used for millennia to re-balance the flow of energy in a sick person.  It is based on the belief that the body has a life force that passes through pathways called meridians.  Acupuncturists place the tiny needles in specific spots on the body that are believed to help unblock or re-balance the energy flow.

To date, as a complimentary treatment, acupuncture appears to help most with heroin or opioid addicts detoxing from the substance.  Those who have used acupuncture have reported increased relaxation, anxiety relief, improved sense of well-being, and a decrease in the desire to use opiates.  There is some evidence that acupuncture can interrupt the dopamine response when the drug is used, diminishing the reward mechanism and therefore the desire to use again.

How Acupuncture Aids in Detox and Withdrawal

Drug detox is a grueling process that many people cannot successfully complete without relapsing back to drug use.  Acupuncture, as one of several holistic treatments, can reduce the withdrawal symptoms as well as the cravings through restoring the balance between the nervous system and the endocrine system.  Acupuncture is said to release endorphins, which can aid withdrawal by producing a sense of calm and well-being.

Withdrawal usually features a sense of agitation, anxiety, and irritability.  Acupuncture can reduce those emotions, aiding in relaxation during the detox phase of recovery.  Acupuncture has no adverse side effects and is well tolerated by most individuals.

Addiction Treatment with Acupuncture and other Holistic Methods

 The concept of alternative, holistic treatments has caught on in the US, with more people embracing such methods as a complimentary form of treatment or as a stand alone treatment.  According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2008 more than a third of the adults in the country utilized complementary and alternative medicine.

The trend is also present in the field of addiction treatment.  Acupuncture is just one of several holistic and experiential therapies that are being accessed during detox and addiction treatment in recent years.  Because of the strong correlation between relaxation and well-being, acupuncture can be a helpful tool in treatment, as can yoga, mindfulness training, meditation, massage therapy, art therapy, and equine therapy.

All of these holistic activities enhance relaxation and reduce stress, as well as allow for exploration of self.  Coming to terms with the underlying factors—emotional pain, past traumas, dysfunction in family or marriage—can be a powerful tool in addiction treatment and attaining a sustainable recovery.  Treatment that provides nourishment to all dimensions of the person, the body, mind, and soul, will eventually be what leads to a lasting recovery and a newfound joy in life.

Riviera Recovery Offers Access to Addiction Treatment with Acupuncture

Riviera Recovery is a sober living community based in the beautiful Malibu coastal hillside.  The lush natural surroundings make Riviera Recovery a perfect spot for healing the body, mind, and spirit in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.  Riviera Recovery encourages residents to partake of acupuncture or any of a wide-ranging menu of adjunct holistic therapies by coordinating these services to enhance recovery.  For more information about our recovery community, please contact us today at (866) 478-8799.

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