Could Acupuncture Help Treat PTSD?

Acupuncture has been proven time [1] and time again [2] to have amazing medical uses, even being used as a painkiller post-tonsillectomy for young children. [3]

Now, studies across the globe have shown that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder may have its symptoms managed by acupuncture. Researchers at Chengdu University of TCM [4] have found that scalp electric acupuncture outperformed paroxetine hydrochloride (a common antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication, often called Paxil) in a group of 276 patients. This could allow thousands of people to enjoy relief without side-effects that RxList.com [5] describes as including “mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, [feeling] impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or hav[ing] thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.”

Dr. David Feinstein authored a paper [6] to similar effect the same month stating that “[…]adding acupoint stimulation to brief psychological exposure is unusually effective in its speed and power because deactivating signals are sent directly to the amygdala[.]”

These tremendous studies back up one published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease [7] by Dr. Michael Hollifield, et al. back in 2007, which concluded

Symptom reductions at end treatment were maintained at 3-month follow-up for both interventions. Acupuncture may be an efficacious and acceptable nonexposure treatment option for PTSD. Larger trials with additional controls and methods are warranted to replicate and extend these findings.

Altogether, this could mean that acupuncture could have a larger role to play in future healthcare. Considering its already verified versatility, who knows what it will help with next?

Sources:
[1] http://cnr.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/07/18/1054773812454136.abstract
[2] http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/12830964
[3] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016558761300493X
[4] http://en.cnki.com.cn/Article_en/CJFDTOTAL-BXYY201009050.htm
[5] http://www.rxlist.com/paxil-drug.htm
[6] http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/pst/47/3/385/
[7] http://journals.lww.com/jonmd/Abstract/2007/06000/Acupuncture_for_Posttraumatic_Stress_Disorder__A.7.aspx
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