Acupuncture Treatment for Addiction at Red Bank, NJ Holistic Wellness Facility

Addiction can take many forms. The most common addictions in this country include alcohol, smoking, and drugs (including both legal and illegal substances). Activities such as gambling or using the Internet can also be addictive. Given the rates of obesity in the United States, even food can be an addictive substance.

Addiction is diagnosed when the following conditions are present dependency, tolerance and withdrawal.

There are two aspects of dependency: physical and/or psychological reliance. In this case, the person with an addiction has the inability to stop a persistent behavior despite the negative impacts on his or her quality of life.

Tolerance involves the adjustments the body makes in the presence of an addictive substance or activity. Eventually, more of the addictive substance or behavior is needed to gain the original effect.

This process is the physiological and psychological response that occurs when an addictive agent is ceased.

The Withdrawal Process

As discussed above, addictions are both physical and psychological; therefore, the process of quitting an addictive substance or activity has both physiological and emotional ramifications. All addictions affect the brain’s reward’ center (part of the limbic system). Usually, the brain responds to pleasurable experiences by releasing dopamine, a neurotransmitter that creates feelings of pleasure. When addictive substances and behaviors take over, large amounts of dopamine flood the system, causing the ‘high’ that often leads to addiction.

Over time, the brain begins to change as a result of this unnatural flow of neurotransmitters—it begins to make less dopamine and reduces the number of dopamine receptors. For the addict, it becomes impossible to feel pleasure without the addictive substance or activity, causing the psychological aspect of withdrawal. The recovering addict may experience anxiety, insomnia, depression, or other emotional symptoms.

Physical withdrawal takes place because the body develops a physical dependence. These withdrawal symptoms vary by the specific substance, but may include anxiety, insomnia, sweating, nausea, vomiting, tremors, and tightness in the chest.

Acupuncture and Withdrawal

There is very good news for people trying to conquer addiction. Acupuncture is a proven method of dealing with the emotional and physical symptoms of withdrawal. This ancient practice works because treatments have been shown to raise the level of endorphins in the nervous system. Endorphins resemble opiates in structure and function—they act as natural painkillers. The cravings and withdrawal symptoms experienced by recovering addicts can be alleviated by raising the level of endorphins in the nervous system.

Chinese medicine explains addiction as an imbalance of yin and yang. Yin and yang are opposing forces that form the ‘Qi’ or ‘life force’ of the body. In an addict, there is often a deficiency of yin. Because yin is associated with water, and yang is considered the element of fire, a lack of yin allows yang’s fire to burn out of control. From a psychological perspective, the addictive substance fuels the fire, further depleting yin and gaining a false and temporary sense of power.

Acupuncture treatments are designed to restore the natural harmony and balance of the body’s Qi. This often produces a calming effect on both the mind and the body. Because acupuncture works to strengthen the liver, kidneys, and lungs, it also speeds up the detoxification process.