Acupuncture for Addiction





The process of overcoming an addiction can be a long and difficult journey. Many people will need to attempt a variety of treatment methods until they discover an effective combination that can result in long-term recovery, and some of these approaches will be less traditional than others.


Often seen as a holistic and alternative method of treatment, acupuncture has been found to be effective at mitigating many of the more unpleasant withdrawal symptoms during detoxification as well as repressing and preventing cravings during the recovery process. The World Health Organisation lists acupuncture as an effective treatment for drug abuse.



How can acupuncture help treat addiction?

While it may seem surprising that a topical treatment has the ability to treat a substance addiction, many people have found relief through the practice of regular acupuncture.

Acupuncture can cause the body to release a number of chemicals including endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. This can mitigate many of the more unpleasant withdrawal symptoms experienced during recovery from a substance addiction and may even help to reduce cravings, as the practice of acupuncture can in some ways mimic the sensations of drug use.


It has also been discovered that the effects of morphine can be effectively blocked by the practice of acupuncture, making the idea of ingesting heroin and other opiates seem less appealing to many Individuals.


The Chinese have a different way of viewing this treatment, believing that acupuncture helps to balance the yin and yang energies within the body. In Chinese culture it is thought that an addiction occurs due to a lack of yin energy, so acupuncture is used to replenish the body’s supply of this energy and restore balance once again.


Which addictions can be treated with acupuncture?

Acupuncture is often recommended within addiction treatment alongside more traditional methods such as counselling and detoxification and can be an effective complementary therapy.


Acupuncture is thought to help with the following addictions:

  • Opiates

  • Food

  • Alcohol

  • Nicotine

  • Morphine

  • Prescription medication


What are the benefits of acupuncture for addiction?

While less traditional than other forms of addiction treatment, the practice of acupuncture has a number of benefits that extend beyond the effect that it can have on addiction or dependency.


Common benefits of acupuncture include:


1. It can block the effects of certain substances

Some studies have shown that the practice of acupuncture may have the ability to block the effects of morphine, which could prove extremely helpful for individuals dealing with opiate addiction. However, as a result of this effect, acupuncture may not be suitable for those who have been prescribed a morphine-based medication for pain management.


2. It can help to manage withdrawal symptoms

Acupuncture can induce the body to release a number of natural chemicals including serotonin and dopamine, commonly known as the ‘happy hormones.’ When performed during the process of detoxification, this treatment can manage many of the more unpleasant withdrawal symptoms and allow the individual to move through the initial detoxification phase with a lower chance of relapse.


3. It can relieve stress and anxiety

Due to the above effects, acupuncture has also been found to have a calming and relaxing effect which can help to soothe feelings of anxiety and stress. Many people turn to substances such as drugs and alcohol in an attempt to avoid unpleasant emotions and sensations, so a regular acupuncture session can help to treat these feelings at their source and reduce their effects.


4. Low risk of side effects

When performed by a trained, experienced acupuncturist in a sterile and professional environment, this form of addiction treatment comes with very few side effects particularly compared with common medications that are often prescribed to treat addiction.


Care Cure are Ireland's leading Traditional Chinese Medicine clinics. We often combine acupuncture with acupressure, herbal remedies or other treatments depending on each individuals particular requirements. We have clinics in the Merrion Shopping center, Dublin 4, and 53 Georges St Lower, Dun Laoghaire.


If you think we may be able to help please avail of our Free Consultations which are provided both online and in all our clinics.