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Posts Tagged ‘Benefits Of Acupuncture During Drug Detox’

Mind-Body Therapies in Addiction Treatment

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

Mind-Body Therapies in Addiction TreatmentThe phrase “addiction treatment” usually brings to mind detoxification and treating physical symptoms. Proper detox is key in helping addicts achieve sobriety, and physical symptoms must be dealt with to ensure addicts do not turn back to drugs for relief. However, treating the mind is vital, too. Low self-esteem, extreme stress, mental illness, and other such issues contribute to substance abuse. In many cases, they are the roots of addiction. Mind-body therapy teaches addicts to recognize these issues, and gives them healthy coping mechanisms.

Additionally, drug and alcohol abuse has myriad negative effects on brain chemistry. Long-term addicts often struggle with memory loss, cognition problems, and the inability to make sound decisions. They often fail to recognize potential consequences of their actions. Along with counseling, mind-body therapy or holistic therapy helps retrain the mind to think beyond a next drink or fix. As their brains and bodies heal, addicts relearn to take responsibility for their actions and decision-making. Over time, their memory and cognition improve as well.

How Addiction Affects the Brain

To use mind-body therapy effectively, providers must know how and why addiction affects the brain. Within everyone’s brain, there is a neural reward system. Our reward center, sometimes called the pleasure center, is activated when experiences give us pleasure. Most people’s reward systems are activated when they engage in a hobby, eat a favorite food, enjoy intercourse with a partner, or spend time with their families and friends. For an addict, however, these experiences no longer provide rewards. The addict’s reward center has been rewired to prioritize his or her substance of choice, recognizing it as the only worthwhile reward available.

Addiction also compromises survival needs. A non-addicted person understands what he or she must do to survive, and the brain prioritizes those needs. They include food, water, and shelter. In contrast, an addicted person no longer responds to survival needs. In an addict’s mind, the substance of choice is the key to survival. Addicts will pursue their substances at any cost out of a real fear they will die without them. As a result, many addicts deal with malnutrition, severe lack of sleep, and myriad health problems.

Mind-body therapy such as meditation, yoga, and acupuncture rewire the brain so it does not respond favorably to substance abuse. The addict’s neural pathways, especially those to the reward center, are retrained to interpret healthy activities and experiences as pleasurable. The brain is also retrained to respond to survival needs. As the mind recovers, addicts begin focusing on self-care, hygiene, nutrition, and adequate sleep.

Types of Mind-Body Therapy

There are several types of holistic therapies, and rehabilitation facilities around the country are embracing them more each day.

Yoga –  is one of the most popular, partially because it has so many physical benefits. Yoga can be modified to fit any fitness level, making it ideal for addicts whose muscles have weakened or atrophied. Yoga has been proven to reduce stress and actually grow new gray matter in the brain. This may help the brain physically heal itself more than most other mind-body therapies, because substance abuse has not damaged the new gray matter.

Meditation – Many people meditate in conjunction with or while performing yoga. Despite its connotation, meditation need not be religious, although many people use it that way. Addicts are encouraged to meditate because the practice helps their brain calm down. During addiction, the brain is constantly “on.” It fires signals at frenetic paces as the addict searches for a drink or fix, or works out how to manipulate people and systems. The brain is also challenged to function without sleep and food, running almost entirely on chemicals. Meditation teaches the brain how to quiet itself, hushing those frenetic signals. Additionally, meditation significantly decreases symptoms of depression and anxiety. This is particularly beneficial for people addicted to prescription anxiety medications.

Acupuncture – is another mind-body therapy that may help addicts. Much of the evidence for acupuncture is anecdotal; study sizes have been too small and poorly controlled to provide much statistical backup. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has found acupuncture has some positive impacts on alcoholics and opiate or heroin addicts. Studies indicate acupuncture reduces drug cravings, lessens the pain of withdrawal symptoms, and calms the nervous system.

Animal – Acupuncture, meditation, and yoga are often the three things people think of when mind-body therapy is mentioned. There are several lesser known types, though. Many addiction treatment centers use animal contact or pet therapy to reach their clients. Animal contact therapy can be as complex as a full-fledged equine or farming program, or as simple as spending quality time with dogs and cats.

Non-Traditional Mind-Body Therapy

Addiction treatment providers use animal contact because it reteaches addicts what it means to have someone depend on them. Addicts often become so dependent on their substances, they develop a narrow and self-centered worldview. Animal therapy gently forces them to think about the world around them. Animals cannot be manipulated or let us down the way people can, so addicts must relearn patience and kindness to get an animal to do what they ask. Additionally, like many mind-body therapies, animal contact therapy releases endorphins, showing an addict what it means to feel happy without substances.

Art, music, and other creative therapies are also used in various treatment centers. These therapies let the addict focus on creating something rather than engaging in destructive behavior. They also build self-esteem and self-confidence, which many addicts sorely lack. Like yoga and animal therapy, creative therapies can be continued after treatment, giving the addict a healthy outlet for his or her feelings.

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Benefits of Acupuncture

The Benefits of Acupuncture During Drug and Alcohol Detox

Friday, January 20th, 2017

The Benefits of Acupuncture During Drug & Alcohol DetoxAddiction is more common than we may think. According to the National Study on Drug Use and Health, there were 20.8 million people aged 12 or older suffering from a substance abuse disorder in 2015. Of these, more than 15 million had an alcohol use disorder, while 7.7 million were dealing with an addiction to drugs. Based on these numbers, researchers estimate that about 1 in 12 people living in the United States require substance abuse treatment.

Effective treatment for substance abuse disorders is multifaceted and requires a holistic approach. By addressing mind, body, and spirit during rehabilitation, patients can adapt healthy lifestyle changes that support long-term recovery. Acupuncture is one such method. Learn about the benefits of acupuncture for drug and alcohol addiction treatment and the detox process.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a complementary therapy that involves stimulating certain points of the body with needles to relieve pain or other symptoms associated with certain medical conditions.

The earliest written account of the practice dates to 100 B.C. in China; although researchers believe acupuncture predates its written accounts. According to Chinese philosophy, acupuncture works by improving energy flow through the body (called qi or chi) and achieving proper balance.

The type of acupuncture delivered in hospitals and treatment centers throughout the United States does not follow traditional eastern philosophy. Physicians and researchers have developed several theories for how acupuncture works. Most involve the idea that nerve stimulation creates a flow of positive activity through the body – the brain may release endorphins, stimulate nerve growth factor, or decrease inflammatory proteins in the body.

Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture is becoming an increasingly popular complementary therapy in western medicine. One of the largest reviews of the literature to date involves a meta-analysis of 29 studies encompassing 18,000 patients and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. This meta-analysis found acupuncture to be moderately effective for the treatment of pain and a “reasonable referral option” and complementary therapy for patients.

Since it is the most popular alternative medicine practice in the United States, researchers continuously study the efficacy of acupuncture to treat a range of conditions from depression to drug addiction.

The Role of Acupuncture in Addiction Recovery

Patients suffering from addiction, who are admitted for treatment, report some uncomfortable symptoms during detox. Withdrawal from alcohol and other drugs may produce nausea, vomiting, insomnia, mood swings, changes in body temperature, profuse sweating, hot flashes, chills, fatigue, or anxiety. Proponents of the practice report acupuncture may be effective in treating all these symptoms.

A recent study reported in the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing found that patients suffering from drug and alcohol addiction who received a particular type of acupuncture that stimulates the ear experienced an increased sensation of well-being and relaxation after treatment.

Auricular Acupuncture and Addiction Treatment

The most common type of acupuncture used in addiction treatment centers is auricular acupuncture (AA). This practice involves the insertion of three or four needles in the ear to relieve symptoms of nausea, pain, and anxiety. According to ancient Chinese medicine, these points connect to the kidneys, lungs, and liver, all of which drug addiction affects adversely.

A study conducted at Yale University found that 55 percent of cocaine addicts receiving auricular acupuncture tested clean in their last week of treatment, compared to the 23.5 percent of the control group who didn’t receive AA. Both groups were engaged in other forms of treatment, including 12-step programs, psychotherapy, and group sessions.

Why Does Acupuncture Work for Detox?

The literature surrounding acupuncture use in addiction treatment is varied. Most theories involving the efficacy of acupuncture focus on the physiological basis for drug addiction. For example, we believe dopamine is the common mechanism for many illicit drugs, producing the exhilarating rush that leads addicts to seek their next highs. A dopamine imbalance within the body also helps produce common symptoms of withdrawal.

Researchers have established that acupuncture follows similar pathways. For example, acupuncture stimulates activity in the hypothalamus, and the subsequent production of endorphins creates a feeling of well-being while relieving pain.

Bridging Modern and Ancient Medicine

Chinese philosophy says that our health depends on the balance of two sides of ourselves – yin and yang. In this view, illness is the direct result of an imbalance of these energies.

While we often see modern and Chinese medicine as being at direct odds with one another, in some ways they are not so different. Traditional science hypothesizes that our bodies are continually working toward homeostasis or a state of equilibrium.

Chronic over-stimulation of the brain from drug use interrupts the brain’s homeostasis by creating dips and spikes in endorphins. Administration of acupuncture during withdrawal helps the body regulate these endorphins and achieve equilibrium. When we look at it this way, the guiding philosophies between ancient and modern medicine aren’t dissimilar.

Acupuncture Complements Other Treatments

The benefits of acupuncture during addiction treatment and detox are numerous. Patients report increased relaxation, a sense of well-being, and less nausea. Acupuncture also provides analgesia, which is particularly useful for those addicted to opioids due to chronic pain.

Acupuncture is an effective complementary therapy for those who struggle with addiction. When used in tandem with other conventional therapies, patients will be better equipped to face the recovery process and lead healthy, productive lives.

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