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Addiction and Acupuncture: 

The evidence for effectiveness

People use drugs and alcohol for many different reasons, such as to relax, to have fun, to cope or to escape pain. Depending on someone’s mental, physical and lifestyle factors, a person can easily become addicted to a substance which can have short-term and long-term impacts on physical, mental, social and financial health. Addiction is a physical and/or psychological need to use a substance, often caused by regular continued use.

Some of the signs of addiction can include:

  • Regularly or continued substance use to cope emotionally, socially or physically

  • Neglecting responsibilities and activities that are important or enjoyable (e.g. work, study, family, hobbies, sports, social commitments)

  • Participating in dangerous or risky behaviours as a result of substance use (e.g. drink driving, unprotected sex, using dirty needles)

  • Relationship problems (e.g. arguments with partner, family, friends, or losing friends)

  • Physical tolerance – needing more of the substance to experience the same effects

  • Withdrawal – physical and mental withdrawal symptoms when you are not using the substance or needing the substance to feel “normal”

  • Losing control of your substance use – being dependent or unable to stop even if you want or try to

  • Substance use takes over your life (e.g. spending a lot of time using, finding or getting the substance and recovering from the effects)


It can be difficult to accept when you have a problem or to ask for help,  for which many services have been designed to support and help with addiction such as Lifeline. Unknowingly though, one of the services that may be able to help your addiction is Acupuncture. Although research on the effectiveness of acupuncture for substance misuse is still at an early stage, the evidence is encouraging. 


One study aimed to explore the effects of acupuncture on smoking cessation in Hong Kong concluded that acupuncture was a safe method for smoking cessation and was effective in helping smokers to quit. Link to study:


Another review assessing randomized controlled trials (RCTs) from January of 1983 to December of 2013 on acupuncture for smoking cessation determined that compared with other treatment, acupuncture significantly increased the rate of short-time abstinence. Link to study:


Additionally, The British Acupuncture Council determined that acupuncture was a safe, effective and inexpensive treatment for addictive diseases, being easily administered and producing significant results. Link to study:


If you have an addiction and would like to consider acupuncture, give us a call to talk to our friendly receptionist or acupuncturist today.

All Sports Natural

Healing Clinic

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