The Chinese Medicine in therapy of Drug Addiction
Drug addiction, especially opium addiction, is a problem that goes rampantly around the world, and also a kind of public nuisance. 

Drug addiction, especially opium addiction, is a problem that goes rampantly around the world, and also a kind of public nuisance. Getting rid of drug addiction is the most import work in drug control. Western medicine therapies have more or less limitations. Taking methadone for example, it’s effective to relieve withdrawal symptoms, however, at the same time, patients may easily get addicted to methadone. There are many kinds of medicine with various negative effects but of little effectiveness, such as clonidine and verapamil. Therefore, researches on Chinese medicine therapy and the needle therapy are booming and widely used in clinical care.

Chinese Medicine Therapy

The use of traditional Chinese medicine in therapy of drug addiction has a long history and now has formed a systematical treatment protocol in different stages from over-dose first aid to withdraw and abstinence and the last to maintenance and drug relapse. Chinese medicines used in the Opiate Dependence treatment is always of great effectiveness in calming liver wind and nerves, keeping blood and they are also antispasmodic and analgesic. In the mouse experiment, White Peony Root, Rhynchophylline, Notopterygium ForbesiiBoiss, Tetrahydropalmatine and Fuzi can greatly reduce the mouse’s shaking frequency while the datura flower can effectively restrain pantomime stretch, quivering in the face, diarrhea and diuresis. Experiment shows that datura flower can effectively hold back the tolerance to pain caused by continuance morphine taking and resume the mouse’s sensibility to the pain caused by morphine. Pure Chinese herbal medicine product Fufangdongyuangao (a kind of extracts made from many kinds of medicines) and Shennongjiedushuan, are effective in the treatment for mouse.

Needle Therapy, usually called acupuncture therapy, is comprehensively studied by scholars since Wen. HL reported its effectiveness in drug treatment in 1973. At present, many researchers across the world have carried out studies on this therapy, especially those in the U.S. The use of this therapy in Lincoln Hospital in New York has a history of more than 20 years. Smith and some others researchers reported as many as 500 success medical cases in drug treatment with the acupuncture therapy, only 15% drug-takers failed to finish a course of history. The effectiveness of needle therapy in the ear acupuncture point main reflected in the remission of abstinence symptoms and the increase of the number of patients who are willing to receive long-term treatment. It is reported in 1992 that another 226 cocaine addicts were cured by this means. After one-month treatment, 65% (146 cases) of them achieved success. Konefal and his partners compared the effectiveness of treatments with or without needle therapy, the times needed to recovery by treatment with needle therapy is only 75% of that without needle therapy.

Needle therapy is the gem of China, and the successful case in drug treatment with needled therapy is increasing day by day. With this kind of therapy, researcher Wan Ping and his partners had cured 89 cases, accounting for 44.9% of all the cases with the efficient rate of 33.1% while deficient rate of 18%. Figures of the control group are respectively 28.3%, 38.4% and 33.3%.
Views towards the effectiveness of needle therapy used in drug treatment differ and control experiments which can prove the influence of psychological factors are still unavailable. Researchers including Washburn carried out studies on needle therapy in drug treatment. They divided the heroin addicts into two groups randomly. The curing group is treated in the ear acupuncture point while the control group is treated in the fake point and the result turned out greatly. The time needed for the curing group is longer than that of the control group. Lipton and his partners carried out a two-month-long similar SINGLE-BLIND STUDY among 150 cocaine addicts. The dosages of cocaine in the treatment group and the control group declined drastically, and the results of both groups are roughly the same. Similar 6-month-long researches conducted by Avants and his partners among 40 cocaine addicts found that the cocaine dosage in both the treatment group and the control group decline. The only difference in both groups is the desire to medicines.

There are still some other animal experiments proving that needled therapy is of some treatment effectiveness to addicted animals. The mouse experiment conducted by Han Jisheng showed that compared to the group without electronic stimulation, 1CQHZ electronic stimulation can effectively restrain abstinence symptoms. Therefore, needle therapy is never rarely a kind of psychological influence. Nowadays, there are two kinds of hypothesis in the mechanism of needle therapy, respectively the neurophysiology mechanism and the neurochemistry.

Neurophysiology points out that needle therapy can balance the function of sympathetic nerve and parasympathetic nerve, cure the dysfunction of vegetative nervous system so as to restrain the abstinence symptoms. Neurophysiology hypothesis mainly refers to the simulative effect of needle therapy to the opiate receptor part in the brain. Stimulated by electricity with a frequency of 100HZ, the central nervous system of an animal will release endogenous opioid to full the vacancy of addictive substances supplying, cut the increase of P substance, which is helpful to the realization of pain-easing reaction, so as to ease abstinence symptoms. After a certain period of needle therapy, the release of endogenous opioid well recover to the normal level so as to get rid of drugs.

With the advantage of convenience, easy operating, little pain, low damnification, low-paid, the needle therapy is preferential in the choosing of drug treatment since there is not a more effective way available. However, like other therapies, recrudescence is a severe question still existing, and its effectiveness is not stable.


From the above mentioning, we can conclude that Chinese medicine and needle therapy is of some effectiveness in curing medicine addiction, and related researches are still being carried out while some problems are still coexisting. Scholars have gained some common sense about some question in this area. It would be a significant contribution to the medical service of the world if Chinese medicine and needle therapy can reduce the possibility of rehabilitation while consolidate curative effect in drug treatment.

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