I originally emphasized the substance (smoking) use aspect of this study, but have edited this summary based on a reader’s comment shown below.
More than 250 women received auricular or sham acupuncture as part of a structured psychoeducational treatment program for women with problems in substance use, anxiety, and depression.
The real acupuncture group reported reduced physiological cravings for substances. They felt significantly less depressed, less anxious, and were better able to reflect on and resolve difficulties than women in the control group.
The researchers conclude that auricular acupuncture “shows promise in being an effective, more viable treatment alternative to anxiolytics [antianxiety drugs].”
John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.