Alcohol. Cigarettes. Video Games. Medications. If use turns into addiction, there is help! Acupuncture can decrease cravings for drugs and alcohol, reduce withdrawal symptoms, relieve tension, and help people relax! Addiction is rampant in our society, with a host of addictions and new ones arising all the time: alcoholism, cocaine, over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, pain medication, eating disorders, gambling or video game obsessions, shopping, cigarettes and sex, to name a few.
Millions of dollars and myriad studies conclude that addiction is a biological, pathological process in the brain, and many current television shows are illustrating true life accounts of what addiction can do to someone’s health and how it can destroy families and futures. Similar to other illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease, addiction is classified as a chronic illness that causes long-term physical, psychological and social affects. And it seems to becoming more rampant.
Addiction is one of the most overused, yet least understood words in our vocabulary, as its common use has been watered down to mean “something that someone likes to do a lot.” Most people are unaware that there are two distinct types of addiction: Substance Dependence and Behavioral Addiction. The definition for Substance Dependence is “a compulsive and psychological need for a habit-forming substance.” These substances (drugs, alcohol, tobacco) actually alter some of the body’s chemistry, though usually only temporarily. Addiction is also characterized by behaviors that include one or more of the following: impaired control over drug use, compulsive use, continued use despite harm, and craving.
Acupuncture is very helpful in treating all forms of addictions—from serious ones involving alcohol and hard drugs to relatively less serious ones involving nicotine and overeating.
Here are some of the ways acupuncture can help. Research has shown that acupuncture can raise the level of endorphins in the nervous system. Resembling opiates in structure and function, endorphins are the body’s natural pain killers. Cravings and withdrawal symptoms experienced by people giving up smoking or drugs can be alleviated by raising the level of endorphins in the nervous system. Some researchers also believe that the desire to eat is also mediated by the endorphin level in the brain, which would explain why acupuncture helps dieters to control their appetites.
Acupuncture alleviates withdrawal symptoms (including cravings, body aches, headache, nausea, sweating, muscle cramping, etc.) so mental and physical stability are quickly achieved, reduces the physical symptoms of withdrawal, relieves depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
Food, smoking, and medication addictions are the ones that are most common and acupuncture certainly gives great results. With smoking, often only one treatment is needed! With medication addiction, a series of treatments over a short period of time is appropriate. With food, and appetite control, acupuncture is helpful quickly. The point sites vary a little from person to person, but ear points can always be included in the choice. A complete history and exam is always important to guide in the choice of point sites.
Other benefits? Acupuncture also works to clear the mind, build energy, and give a sense of well being. And that’s a great foundation to build upon!
For more information about how acupuncture can aid in addiction recovery, please visit us at www.ctacupuncture.com
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Photo: Throw Dices by George Hodan