One of the greatest problems facing many societies in the world today is addiction. It manifests in several forms among which can be addiction to sugar or chocolates to addiction to dangerous substances such as cocaine or heroin. At any rate, addiction can cause damage to a person’s overall balance and health.
What is Addiction?
Addiction often develops due to excessive and longstanding performance or intake of activities and stimulating substances that impact the general functioning of a person. Medical dictionaries define addiction as a psychological or psychological dependence on particular substances or practices that has gone past a person’s ability to control. Certain individuals may see addiction as when the activity or substance takes hold of the person and not the other way around.
There are two types of addiction and they depend on the thing that a person is being addicted to. The addiction can either be behavioral in nature or towards a substance. Substance addition usually implies addiction to damaging substances like heroin, alcohol, nicotine and cocaine while behavioral addiction may suggest a serious obsession to immersing oneself in activities such as sex, intense exercise, internet browsing, and gambling.
In time, people may seem to lose control of their behavior and this generates problems to other individuals. Besides losing control of their behavior, which may mean helplessness in controlling themselves from doing specific activities or their uncontrollable intake of particular substances, addicts have developed extreme dependence on certain substances in order to live and function a seemingly normal life. An individual addicted to a certain substance will use a substance or perform an activity no matter if they negatively affect their body and life as well as others who are connected with them.
Based on certain studies, users who regularly use specific substances or do activities derive substantial pleasure in using these substances or doing those activities. With regards to substance addiction, the user may eventually increase his/her dose because the higher the dose he/she takes the more pleasure this user receives; as a result, his/her tolerance to the substance likewise goes up. Medical researchers have seen that as the tolerance level of a person elevates, the higher his/her likelihood for addiction. We can see a lot of cases where users who abuse substances do it to prevent themselves from experiencing withdrawal symptoms. The use/abuse of these substances helps them feel normal or function normally.
In order to resolve his/her addiction, the user needs first to admit that he/she is truly suffering from addiction. The conventional or typical way of treating addiction is for the user to go for psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, counseling and self-help groups. Nowadays, we see the use of acupuncture to be a very good addition to the list of treatments that can effectively treat addiction.
Addiction from the Viewpoint of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Acupuncture is a 5,000 year old Chinese healing modality that uses acupuncture needles inserted into body points known as acupuncture points. These acupuncture points lie along pathways where qi or vital energy flows. These energy vessels are called meridians. The needles are inserted into acupuncture points to stimulate the body into performing a natural process whereby the body is detoxified from substance addiction and abuse.
Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine or TCM explain why a person develops an addiction. The explanation uses the idea of balancing the forces in yin and yang in the body. In the case of addicts, they are deficient in yin. This deficiency brings out feelings of emptiness and desperation that compels addicts to abuse, consume and use. When they act this way, it only leads to more depletion of their yin making them feel even more desperate.
Acupuncture for Treating Addiction
Acupuncture is the most common modality used by TCM. It is often combined with Chinese herbs that can quicken the reduction of cravings and bring about relaxation and calmness in the addict. Studies reveal that acupuncture helps relieve anxiety and decreases the severity and frequency of withdrawal symptoms. Regardless if your addiction is to heroin or coffee, acupuncture can prove to be a natural and effective process of cleansing your body off toxic and addictive substances.
Based on studies, ear acupuncture can be effective in treating several types of addiction including pain-killing drugs like vicoden, hydrocodone and oxycontin; tea; coffee; methadone; crack; cocaine; morphine; heroin; and alcohol.
The NADA Protocol
The NADA Protocol states that five acupuncture points exist in the body that can be useful in treating addiction: these points are the shenmen point, lung point, liver point, kidney point and the sympathetic point.
The stimulation of the kidney point is done to help bring back the source and essence of energy that are usually impaired during substance abuse. It likewise can augment the addict’s will to overpower addiction and treats fear as well.
Besides speeding up the detoxifying process, lung point stimulation aids in reinforcing the immune system which is essential in helping to more easily cope with the withdrawal symptoms. When the shenmen points are stimulated, it produces a calming and relaxing effect that aids in relieving anxiety and nervousness that often accompany withdrawal symptoms. The stimulation of the sympathetic points elicits a strong painkilling effect that helps bring back balance to the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. To help repair the liver due to drug abuse and alcohol addiction as well as to treat aggression, the acupuncturist stimulates the addict’s liver point.
More and more users prefer to use acupuncture therapy to deal with their addiction primarily because it does not have side effects. This treatment is typically utilized until the addict is completely treated of his/her addiction. Once the addict is able to stop taking in substances, he/she can also lessen his/her acupuncture treatments; however, some acupuncturists recommend that users continue getting acupuncture treatments at a minimum of once a month to attain complete long term recovery. The good news is that a large number of ex-addicts come for acupuncture treatment regularly because it promotes their sense of well-being and balance.