Does Acupuncture Work for Addiction?

Today, it’s not unusual for alternative therapies to be used to treat addiction. They are recommended as they address both mental and physical aspects of recovery and are often effective.


Acupuncture is a therapy often integrated into treatment. This practice involves inserting small needles into the skin to target strategic parts of the body. It is meant to open pathways, promote balance, and improve mental and physical health.


But does acupuncture work for addiction? Read on to find out.


What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an essential component of traditional Chinese medicine. It involves inserting needles into specific points along the pathways or meridians in the body. It is believed to promote energy flow and balance.


What is Acupuncture Used to Treat?

Acupuncture is used to relieve pain and stress. It is recommended to address symptoms associated with:

  • Nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Dental pain
  • Headaches
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Pain in the joints
  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Labor pain


Does Acupuncture Work for Addiction?

It is unclear how acupuncture works to relieve pain and reduce stress. While Western thinking proposes that it may activate endorphins in the body, Chinese thinking suggests that it balances the yin and yang to produce positive results.


When used for addiction, acupuncture is most commonly introduced in the withdrawal phases.


When a person withdrawals from a drug, they often experience unpleasant physical and mental symptoms such as pain, stress, and digestive issues. They know the only way to overcome these short-term issues is to go back to using. That’s why so many people end up relapsing.


Acupuncture for drug detox is administered to reduce withdrawal symptoms making relapse less likely to occur. It can also be used on an ongoing basis throughout treatment to decrease stress that may cause a person to go back to using.


Several studies have been conducted on acupuncture’s efficacy in treating addiction with positive results. Here are some to consider.

Cocaine Addiction

Animal studies show that acupuncture may regulate neuronal activation to prevent stress-induced relapse related to cocaine addiction. Four human studies showed similarly promising results.

Opioids and Opiate Addiction

One study of four male adults showed opioid withdrawal symptoms declined after acupuncture was used. It was especially effective in treating heroin addiction as it was shown to lower heroin relapse rates by inhibiting attention bias to the drugs. It is also beneficial when used alongside methadone treatment.


Research reveals that certain types of acupuncture can reduce anxiety following nicotine withdrawal. Electrostimulation, a similar alternative therapy, has been shown to have similar effects.


Acupuncture may effectively reduce alcohol withdrawal when used in combination with carbamazepine medication. It has also been shown to regulate dopamine release and suppress the effects of ethanol in animal studies.


Certain types of acupuncture may be effective as a complementary therapy in improving immune dysfunction in morphine addicts. Animal studies reveal that it may also assist in the recovery of male sexual behavior during morphine withdrawal. It may also be beneficial in improving sleep during withdrawal.

Other Substances

Acupuncture was looked at for treating addiction to other substances, including methamphetamine, cannabis, and other illicit psychotic drugs. People overcoming these dependencies preferred acupuncture treatment to reduce anxiety and increase confidence but did not see it as effective in reducing drug consumption and withdrawal symptoms.


How to Find Acupuncture for Drug Addiction in Malibu, CA

Several Malibu rehab facilities offer acupuncture for addiction. An internet search will turn up many clinics that you can review to find out which provides the treatments you prefer. Going through them may take some time. If you are looking for a quick and easy solution, contact Rise in Malibu first.


Rise in Malibu is a luxury recovery facility with en-suite rooms offering magnificent ocean views. We provide customized Malibu treatments to our patients, including a mix of traditional and alternative approaches. We accompany this with a high level of care that includes board-certified doctors and 24-hour nursing.

If you are dealing with dependency issues, acupuncture for drug addiction could be the best solution. Rise in Malibu provides an effective treatment that will help you attain a higher quality of life. Contact us to find out how we can help you achieve the ultimate health and happiness.

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