Pulse of Oriental Medicine: Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks
Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks






Brian Carter, acupuncturist, herbalist, and author

Chinese Medicine for Alcoholism and Addiction - 2 Q&A's
By Brian Benjamin Carter, MSci, LAc

Brian is an author and public speaker. He is currently writing several books on the topics of fertility, prevention, and weight loss. Brian practices acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in sunny San Diego, California.

Drinking to Drown All Those Thoughts

When I start drinking I cannot stop until I feel drowsy. It's this drowsiness that I crave, or, in fact, to relax from all the thoughts going round in my head. I don't want to stop drinking all together, only to be able to do it in moderation. At the moment I drink about 1.5 bottles of wine a night which is clearly too much. Do you think that acupuncture can help?

You may want to look into Alcoholics Anonymous- if you're a real alcoholic (mental obsession to drink plus inability to moderate how much you drink after you start), then acupuncture can help you, but it won't be enough on its own. If you are a real alcoholic, abstinence is the real solution, and acupuncture and the 12 steps can make it possible, and lead to a much more enjoyable life...

If you aren't an alcoholic, acupuncture and herbs can still help with over-thinking... it's a form of anxiety, really. Check out an acupuncturist/herbalist one on one.


Alcohol and Acupuncture

I was wondering about the general treatment regarding acupuncture and addiction to alcohol? For instance, I was told regarding smoking that it usually takes 1-4 treatments to be free of smoking. What is the regimen like concerning alcohol? Daily, weekly, monthly? Also can you provide any information regarding the costs? Per treatment maybe? Or does that fluctuate depending on circumstances and doctor?

Well, it varies with your condition, how serious your cravings are, how the practitioner has set up their addiction treatments (do they have a lower price, etc.), and your financial limitations. It would be helpful to have the ear acupuncture every day, but that may not be affordable. Your practitioner can, however, put stick-on seeds or needles in the points after the treatment. They stay in for several days. If you get the stick-on needles, you need to keep them dry to avoid the possibility of infection... but such infections are rare. The seeds are either magnets, or herbal seeds that slightly irritate the ear points to stimulate them. In addition to regular ear acupuncture, probably at least 2 or 3 times a week, you may want to go in whenever you feel agitated or tempted.

I don't think acupuncture by itself is enough for any addiction. For alcoholism, go to Alcoholics Anonymous or a church, because the greatest success with that disease has come from abstinence combined with a spiritual life change. The spirituality reduces the likelihood that life will disturb you so much that you'd want to drink. Cigarettes are so addictive that you need a real resolve, and may even want to use a nicotine patch or gum for a week when starting- you'll get used to not doing the act of smoking, and then you can get rid of the nicotine, too, later. There is also an organization called Nicotine Anonymous.

You may want to call around to several practitioners and see how they handle addiction treatments. In my practice, I offer them for less than my typical acupuncture follow-up, because it's a set acupuncture protocol, and doesn't require an evaluation or diagnosis.

Additionally, there are herbal formulas that can help you feel calmer while quitting - those may require an evaluation and diagnosis, so your practitioner may schedule a separate herbal consult or initial intake to make sure you get the right herbs.

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All information herein provided is for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of appropriate local experts and authorities.

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