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Altern Ther Health Med. 2006 Jan-Feb;12(1):66-9.

Efficacy of auricular acupressure as an adjuvant therapy in substance abuse treatment: a pilot study.

Author information

1
Department of Health Science at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM, USA.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Substance abuse and its related problems have become a serious public health issue, particularly in underserved border and rural communities. Conventional therapies have not always been effective. Literature regarding the use of auricular acupressure in substance abuse treatment is limited.

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the efficacy of auricular acupressure in addition to usual care in substance abuse treatment, which has been limited.

DESIGN AND SETTING:

This placebo-controlled pilot study was carried out in a community mental health center in a US-Mexico border city (Las Cruces) in southwestern New Mexico.

PARTICIPANTS:

A majority were Hispanic males with an average age of 32.8 years. Participants reported an average lifetime use of drug of choice of 14 years.

INTERVENTION:

In addition to usual care, participants received specific acupressure treatment and placebo acupressure treatment. The acupressure treatment was offered once a week for 6 consecutive weeks.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

The Hopkins Symptom Checklist (SCL-20) Depression Scale was administered before and after 6 weeks of treatment to assess changes in emotional distress. Brief Substance Craving Scale was used at baseline and weekly for 6 weeks to assess changes in craving.

RESULTS:

Both specific and placebo acupressure groups showed a significant reduction in craving at the end of treatment, with the specific acupressure group having a greater and more steady reduction in craving. Both specific acupressure and usual-care-only groups demonstrated a significant reduction in emotional stress.

CONCLUSION:

Overall, there was a positive response to the specific auricular acupressure treatment on psychological distress, craving, and drug/alcohol use measures. These encouraging preliminary results need to be duplicated in studies with larger sample sizes and longer treatment phases.

PMID:
16454149
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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