Traditionally, the word “addiction” was used to describe the body's physical dependence on a chemical substance, such as alcohol or heroine. More recently, the word has been generalized to many behaviors that are prone to behavioral excess. It has many appearances such as drug (cocaine, marijuana, painkillers) addiction, alcoholism, food addiction, work holism, smoking, addiction to coffee and other forms of caffeine, sexual addiction or compulsion, shop holism, and (video) gambling.
Addiction is a specific biological disorder of the reward systems of the brain that permanently alters the survival system and thus the motivational priorities. It creates a biological change that results in a continued need for the addictive behavioror substance. The characteristic of addiction is progressive use of a particular substance in the face of adverse consequence (effects on school or work, health, finance, legal, relationships). Addiction could include the following elements:
• In most cases, the process is first triggered by a pharmacological agent. • In some cases, addictive behaviors might represent an individual’s attempt to overcome or deal with a mental health problem, such as depression or anxiety. • For the most part emotional deregulation is the reason that people go to drugs in the first place; Individuals may have difficulty regulating feelings, trying to feel better, and seeking solutions to emotional states. • There is strong scientific evidence that addiction is at least in part heritable. For instance, some individuals lack a particular enzyme that is important in the metabolism of alcohol, making them much more susceptible to addiction to alcohol. This trait can be passed on from parents to children. • One of the major signs of addiction is denial. Denial is the psychological defense mechanism that individuals use to blind themselves to the consequences of their addiction.
This study will focus on aspects of the Traditional Chinese Medicine to help with quitting cocaine and smoking.
SECTION I. ACUPUNCTURE TO HELP PATIENTS TO FIGHT COCAINE ADDICTION
US Study： Researchers have shown that acupuncture can help some patients fight cocaine addiction, according to an article published in the Aug. 14, 2000 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.
Researchers from Yale University divided 82 cocaine addicts (who were also receiving methadone treatment for heroin addiction) into three groups. One-third received auricular acupuncture at four specific points around the outer ear, another third received "sham" acupuncture at sites on the ear that would be ineffective, and the last third received relaxation therapy consisting of viewing a relaxing video. Treatment sessions were five times a week for eight weeks. The treatments lasted for about 45 minutes. The subjects' urine was tested three times a week for traces of cocaine.
The patients assigned to receive true acupuncture had less cocaine use compared to the other groups, and there were a higher percentage of patients in the acupuncture group who were clean from cocaine use in the last week of the study compared to the other groups.
In fact, patients who received real acupuncture were three and a half times more likely than those who received relaxation therapy, and two and a half times more likely than those who received sham acupuncture, to test negative for cocaine. Over half of those(~ 54%) receiving acupuncture had three consecutive cocaine-free urine samples in the final week of the study, compared to 24% of those getting sham acupuncture and 9% of those getting only relaxation therapy.
Brazil Study： A study was reported at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association on May 15, 2000 (Chicago) by the University of São Paulo, Brazil. In order to quit, cocaine addicts in Brazil received acupuncture treatments.
The patients were offered a chance to add acupuncture treatment to the standard behavior-oriented group psychotherapy usually offered. Those who agreed underwent weekly, hour-long sessions in which five acupuncture needles were stuck in their ears. Half the patients got real acupuncture, that is, the practitioner put the needles in "active" sites that are believed to work according to Chinese medicine. The other half of the patients had the needles placed in "inactive" places on their ears believed to do neither good nor harm. These people served as the comparison group.
Lots of patients dropped out; only two-fifths of the acupuncture patients and one-third of the mock-acupuncture patients finished all 12 weeks of their treatment. This is not unusual for drug-abuse treatment programs, which have a high failure rate since cocaine addiction is notorious among those in the know for being difficult to treat.
All the patients who completed treatment got better -- but the patients treated with acupuncture got better faster. After the first four weeks of treatment, the acupuncture patients were doing significantly better in terms of drug use, employment situation, family relationships, healthy leisure activities, and physical illness related to drug use.
SECTION II. ACUPUNCTURE TO HELP PEOPLE TO QUIT SMOKING
Worldwide statistics showing that one out of three men and women over the age of 18 are smokers. Without doubt, smoking remains a risky business. In the U.S. alone, tobacco kills more than 440,000 people each year.
The very first cigarette a person smokes makes a long-lasting mark on the areas of the brain that respond to pleasure. All animals, including humans, have a "pleasure center" built into their brains. Its purpose is to make certain experiences so rewarding that the animal will want to do them over and over again -- even if it takes a great deal of effort and self-sacrifice. The brain tightly controls access to the pleasure center, so it is fully active only during behaviors, such as sex, that are essential for the survival of the species. A single exposure to nicotine leaves the doors to the pleasure center open for several days. This brief exposure made some of the circuits in the pleasure center much easier to trigger -- and this effect lasted for a long time after the nicotine was taken away. The pleasure center in the brain is turned on by a chemical messenger known as dopamine, and nicotine acts to increase dopamine production. All the drugs that are commonly abused cause the release of dopamine.
Research shows that a smoker’s body wants nicotine every eight minutes. When people decide to quit smoking, the mind is content to not smoke; however, the physical body goes through unpleasant withdrawal, which includes feeling itchy, nervous, having nothing to do with ones hands, and getting enraged over nothing at all. This is an indication that the powerful chemical has been in one’s body for a long time. The withdrawal is likely to be that the toxins going into overdrive because they were waiting for their next fix. Although one's body screams for nicotine every eight minutes. The scream passes very quickly. If the person can live through the urge, which lasts only 60 seconds, then he/she can move through that urge. This is the key with anyone that succeeds with an addiction, i.e., to be in charge of what is in one’s mind. It is recommended that people take lots of long hot showers, do whatever they need to do, or get a massage to go through the urge. Acupuncture is one of the methods that help people to go through the unpleasant withdrawal period.
In a study at the University of Oslo in Norway, published in the journal Preventive Medicine in 2001, reported that 46 healthy men and women who reported smoking 20 ± 6 cigarettes per day volunteered. They were randomly assigned to a test group (TG) or to a control group (CG). TG was given acupuncture treatments, with needles inserted at points believed to influence organs associated with smoking (such as the lungs, airways and mouth). CG was given acupuncture to acupoints considered to have no effect on smoking cessation. During the treatment period the reported cigarette consumption fell on average by 14 (TG) and 7 (CG) cigarettes per day. Over a five-year period, these participants in TG smoked less and had a decreased desire to smoke, compared with those in CG.
One expert indicated that acupuncture can be helpful in managing the physiological nicotine-withdrawal symptoms, probably by stimulating the release of brain chemicals called endorphins. It can help relieve the 'nicotine fits,' the jitters, the cravings, the irritability, and the restlessness that people commonly experience when they quit.
The acupuncture points used in the Norway study was not clearly identified. From literature the following points can be used:
Also, herbal treatments that ease withdral symptoms include the combination of xiao yao san and gan mai da zao tang
• WebMD. • Life Cultivation and Rehabilitation of TCM, published by Shanghai University of TCM. • Aug. 14, 2000 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine Annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association on May 15, 2000 (Chicago). • Journal Preventive Medicine, 2001by the University of Oslo.