• Acupuncture and the Opioid Crisis


  • Acupuncture and the Opioid Crisis

    It’s no surprise that the current opioid epidemic has reached epidemic proportions. Continued improvements in terms of healthcare initiatives have been discussed and implemented with the goal of ending the epidemic. However, we still have a long way to go in terms of understanding addiction and which alternative therapies can help, from both a medical environment and treatment center point of view.

    How can we stop the abuse cycle of opioid abuse and help addicts recover? One way is through alternative therapies like acupuncture. According to the Joint Acupuncture Opioid Task Force and other esteemed organizations, there are many benefits of acupuncture in reducing and even eliminating the need for opioids and non-opioid drugs while treating opioid addiction.

    Researchers say that acupuncture can essentially replace opioids by the stimulation of the production of “endogenous opioids,” which basically uses our body’s own chemistry to mimic the benefits of synthetic drugs sans the side effects. To its credit, acupuncture has many benefits, such as stress reduction and pain relief. But in terms of psychological benefits, it can boost the levels of chemicals in the central nervous system, most notably enkephalin, epinephrine, endorphin, norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin.

    The journal Chinese Medicine says there is not enough evidence to suggest that acupuncture has a strong effect in addiction treatment, even though acupuncture has been found to be beneficial for stress, sleep and pain management.

    A Promising Solution

    The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA), created in 1985, has influenced about 250 hospitals and treatment centers in the U.S. and U.K. that use acupuncture for treating detoxification. In 1996, the World Health Organization recognized acupuncture as a drug therapy treatment, followed by the National Institutes of Health which recognized it as an accepted alternative to Western medicine. Now, more than 700 addiction treatment centers use acupuncture as an alternative therapy.

    The current opioid epidemic is still going on, but according to the above referenced letter, acupuncture continues to show promise as an alternative therapy and as an aid in stopping opioid addiction. The theory is that it can be used in place of strong and harmful opioids that continue the cycle of opioid abuse. While acupuncture hasn’t yet shown a strong, scientific value for treatment of addiction, it may be able to reduce the number of prescribed opioids. In turn, this could reduce the likelihood of someone becoming addicted.

    In addition, acupuncture could pave the way for even more alternative offerings for patients as well as viable solutions for doctors who must adhere to the new CDC prescriber guidelines. A holistic approach should be followed when it comes to addiction treatment, but a cookie cutter solution just hasn’t been found yet. One thing is clear: continued research is required. For those who use acupuncture for pain management and other uses, it’s important to consult with your doctor on therapies that can help improve personal recovery outcomes.

    Contact Metro Detroit Acupuncture

    For acupuncture in Southeast Michigan from a leading acupuncture, Chinese herbs and pain management clinic, don’t hesitate to contact Metro Detroit Acupuncture at 248-432-2846. We can provide you with more information on clinically proven acupuncture throughout Metro Detroit, particularly as it pertains to opioid addiction treatment. Book your appointment today online.