Addiction: A New Treatment Paradigm

Paul L. Reller L.Ac. / Last Updated: August 03, 2017


Additional Information and Links to Scientific Studies

  1. A 2010 review of the current state of scientific understanding of addiction is presented here, from The Scripps Research Institute and the National Institute of Drug Abuse. This review shows that the cycle of addiction presents an array of factors which occur in a cycle of dysfunctions and affect a number of areas in the brain. Hoping to find a single allopathic drug to stop this process is not reasonable, but utilizing such drugs with integration of a broader treatment protocol with Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CIM) presents hope for success, and such a more complex protocol can be easily modified to suit the needs of a wide variety of types of addictions and individuals with differing presentations and needs in therapy:
  2. A 2008 meta-review of all scientific studies of cognitive and behavioral psychology (CBT) as part of an integrated model for treatment of addiction, by experts at the Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre of Melbourne, Australia, found few studies in print, but very positive findings in these studies to fully support CBT in the treatment of drug addiction. Years later, we are now only beginning to see this implemented:
  3. A 2010 review of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for addiction at Boston University, U.S.A. shows that this type of therapy is effective in a wide variety of ways, and should be utilized as needed and in an individualized manner. Patients have been helped with CBT alone or integrated into a broader protocol, and a number of strategies and techniques can be used alone or integrated into a broader protocol. Taking a narrow one-size-fits-all attitude toward utilization of CBT seems absurd. Patients need to take a pro-active role and decide how to integrate CBT into their treatment strategy, and perhaps try different approaches until they meet success. While integration of CBT in standard medicine has not officially promoted integrating restorative medicine approaches with CIM/TCM, this is increasingly used by the VA and in programs treating disorders such as PTSD and found successful. Patients may choose to try simple restorative medicine and CBT before resorting to pharmacological substitution and psychiatric drugs:
  4. A 2013 statement by a member of the American Psychological Association shows that when she was in medical school that there was no training at all to treat addiction because of the strong societal belief that addicts were deranged individuals that just needed to be punished and put into addiction-management programs. Today, we are gradually seeing that emotional and motivational health is very important to overcoming the biological cycle of dysfunction, and that integration of psychological restoration is very important and effective. Substituting positive emotional motivations has been found to be effective, and providing a restorative biological program could be an important part to the solution as well, a mind-body approach:
  5. A 2011 study of emotion regulation skills as part of the CBT in addiction treatment is presented by experts at the Philipps University Marburg, and the University of Luebeck/AHG, in Germany, and the University of New York, Boston University, and Yale University, in the U.S.A. Regulation of emotional constraint and balancing of emotional function and health was achieved with a short course of weekly CBT sessions and daily group therapy. In TCM theory, restoration of the cycle of emotional control and engendering has been an important part of the integrative healthcare for thousands of years, with early texts stating that emotional constraint is a leading contributor to disease, and that the human organism has a natural homeostasis of emotional balance and control. Such concepts could be successfully integrated into emotional regulation:
  6. A 2013 randomized controlled human clinical study of the use of antipsychotic medication in the treatment of methamphetamine addiction, by experts at the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF), U.S.A. found that this protocol did not significantly reduce methamphetamine use. As noted in the study, other studies in Europe and the United States found evidence that the use of antipsychotics could actually increase the effects of methamphetamine and contribute to the addiction cycle:
  7. A 2008 study at the University College of Pharmacy, in Kingston, Rhode Island, U.S.A. noted that mounting evidence of the use of atypical antipsychotic pharmaceuticals in recreational drug cocktails to enhance the effects of other recreational drugs is now seen, especially in studies of addicts in jails and prisons. At this time, the antipsychotic Quetiapine, or Seroquel, was most popular, but all atypical antipsychotics now popularly prescribed off-label for non-approved conditions, were seen in this abuse of drug cocktails. Surely, this is strong evidence that such psych drugs may not be the best treatment for addiction:
  8. A 2010 study of the problem of atypical antipsychotics in drug abuse and addiction, by experts at the Gaziosmanpasa University Faculty of Medicine, department of psychiatry, in Tokat, Turkey, noted that these drugs, especially Quetiapine, or Seroquel, were now widely used in the treatment of addiction, but no published RCT studies were found to see if atypical antipyschotic drugs actually cause drug dependence and contribute to the addiction syndrome. These experts noted that numerous studies now showed that incarcerated addicts widely reported that atypical antipsychotics were used to enhance the effects of cocaine and other drugs, and a strong concern was voiced that the use of such drugs in treatment of addiction may be problematic, despite published reports of the success with atypical antipsychotics in reduction of substance abuse. These atypical antipsychotics drugs were not only used as pills, but snorted and shot up intravenously by drug abusers and addicts in drug cocktails:
  9. A 2016 report on neurocognitive rehabilitation as an adjunct integrative treatment for drug addiction, by experts at the Tehran University of Medical Sciences, in Iran, and the Yale University School of Medicine, in New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A. found that it has been widely assumed that measurable neurocognitive deficits linked to drug addiction and abuse would resolve when the abuser quit using the drugs, but that studies have shown that this is not true, and in fact, neurocognitive decline worsened in early abstinence in many cases. A call for restorative medicine to address neurocognitive decline in addiction was made:
  10. A 2003 review of the role of the dopamine and glutamate pathways in addiction, by experts at the University of Tubingen, in Germany, shows that the dopaminergic and glutamatergic pathways are integrated in most parts of the brain, but that glutamine and glutamate receptor types and function appear to act synergistically with acetylcholine in some parts of the brain associated with the addiction cycle, particularly the negative reward system of conditioned behavior and cognition when the addictive substance is consumed. This pathway is largely attributed to the cross-talk and communication between the prefrontal cortex and the nucleus accumbens. We see that a broader and more holistic approach is needed to effectively stop the cycle of dysfunction in addiction, and a restoration of homeostasis is greatly needed in the process. We also see from such study that the synthesized glutamates in processed and fast food, designed to increase desire and addiction to the foods, may have altered this glutamate metabolism for many individuals and contributed to addiction. While one particular aspect, such as this, may not be held totally responsible for addiction pathology, all of the contributors must be decreased to prevent addiction in the future:
  11. A 2009 study from experts at the Medical University of South Carolina, in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.A. explain how the glutamate metabolism in the brain, particularly the prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens, plays a large role in the cycle of addiction, particularly in the negative reward and seeking behavior, and difficulty in adapting to changes, but is tied to the broader metabolism in the dopaminergic pathway of the amygdala, hippocampus, and medial thalamus:
  12. A 2014 study from experts at the Medical University of South Carolina, in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.A. found that oxytocin mediates cocaine seeking through interacting with glutamate receptor systems via second messenger cascades in the mesocorticolimbic regions. A restoration of the neurohormonal metabolism would help insure that the progress is enhanced in treatment of addiction, while specific drugs that block one of the neurohormones or neurotransmitters would have limited effect, and due to the modulating feedback cycle, adverse effects:
  13. A 2012 study at Shenyand Pharmaceutical University, in China, showed that oxytocin acts as a modulating neurohormone in the metabolism of glutamate and GABA, especially in addiction. The level of oxytocin inhibited excess extracellular glutamate induced by methamphetamine in the prefrontal cortex and restored deficiency induced in the hippocampus. Oxytocin also increased levels of GABA in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus and inhibited a methamphetamine-induced decrease of GABA in the hippocampus. The restoration of the neurohormonal homeostasis would help greatly in treating addiction and preventing relapse:
  14. A 2010 review of the current state of scientific understanding of genetic inheritance in addiction is presented here, from experts at the University of Virginia and the University of Michigan. While the prevailing notion in modern medicine is that there must be a simple genetic explanation when half of the patients have parents with the same problem, this research shows that finding actual genetic links that correspond to a broad section of this population of addicts is very elusive. A combination of genetic susceptibility rather than specific genes in the basic chromosomes, reinforced by environmental, cognitive and behavioral aspects affecting both the control of genetic expression and epigenome seems like a more reasonable explanation:
  15. A 2014 study at Shahid Chamran University in Iran, and the University of Malaya Medical School, in Malaysia, confirmed that early trauma, dissociative experience and suicide ideation are predictive of addiction potential, showing that often the cycle of dysfunction starts at an early age and needs to be addressed with a multidisciplinary approach, not just a denial of one particular addictive substance:
  16. A 2014 report by experts at the University of Florida School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, noted that up to a third of patients with a substance abuse disorder now report abuse of medications to treat ADHD, and perhaps more than a third of adults with a diagnosis of ADHD report a history of substance abuse disorder! This may be a conservative estimate, according to some sources. The creation of drug addicts in the treatment of ADHD is amazing and alarming, but the public seems not to notice. These psychiatric experts now recommend Complementary and Integrative Medicine in the the standard treatment protocols, both to prevent drug abuse and addiction, and to improve treatment results of ADHD, which is being ignored as well. The evidence-based treatments recommended include herbal medicine, diet and nutritional medicine, iron supplements and neurofeedback:
  17. A report in 2000 from experts at the Medical University of South Carolina, Colleges of Pharmacy and Medicine, in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.A. show that Ritalin (Methyphenidate) cannot be differentiated from other stimulants, such as cocaine and amphetamine, in the pathology of addiction and abuse, and that the now common practice of powdering the Ritalin and snorting it to get high produces effects that are similar to cocaine, with similar adverse effects and development of an addiction pathology. The patterns of recreational abuse and adverse effects has been documented since 1960, including injection abuse, but largely ignored, with serious psychological symptoms similar to abuse of cocaine and amphetamine:
  18. A 2009 report by the U.S. National Institutes of Health noted that a large NIDA (National Institute of Drug Abuse) study proved that Ritalin (Methyphenidate) causes neuronal changes in the brain with addictive pathology when abused, with "biochemical effects in some regions of the brain that can be even greater than those of cocaine". While large studies have shown that normal prescription dosage does not appear to cause substantial problems with addiction syndromes later in life, it is now well known that these ADHD drugs are widely abused by both youth and adults, with little warning of the dangers of addiction, or knowledge of the addiction pathology:
  19. By 2015, studies such as this at Virginia Commonwealth University and the Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies, in Richmond, Virginia, U.S.A. note that "Methamphetamine addiction is a significant public health problem for which no Food and Drug Administration-approved pharmacotherapies exist", and while not emphasizing the fact, included Ritalin (methylphenidate) in the study of addiction and the effects of dosage:
  20. By 2015, public health warnings and studies, such as this one from the Aix Marseille University School of Medicine, show that Ritalin (Methylphenidate) abuse and addiction is emerging as a significant public health problem in many regions of Europe:
  21. Current warnings and information from the U.S. FDA show that the incidence of abuse and addiction to Adderal, or Dextroamphetamine, is now well documented and a large public health concern, and that chronic use of even the recommended dosage is now shown to produce chronic adverse effects and should be avoided:
  22. A 2014 study at Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A. shows that two independent prefrontal cortical inputs to the nucleus accumbens are involved in a modulation of the addiction craving in the cycle of cocaine addiction, one pathway increases the behavior response while the other attenuates it. This clearly shows that simple antagonism or agonism of a neurochemical pathway will not work, and that modulation between these areas of the brain, as we see in acupuncture stimulation, is needed:
  23. A 2012 study of the integration of acupuncture to treat narcotic or opiate addiction, by experts at the China Medical University School of Chinese Medicine, in Taichung, Taiwan, and the Armed Forces Taoyuan General Hospital, in Taoyuan, Taiwan, explains the rationale and mechanisms for acupuncture as part of the integrated model of treatment for addiction, and the most widely used protocol, with ear acupuncture, and channel stimulation at P6, LI4, ST36 and SP6. This review notes that many randomized controlled human clinical trial have been conducted since the 1970s, but that study design and size are considered inadequate to fully confirm efficacy, despite decades of positive results. Of course, this treatment protocol is very general and meant to support patients in addiction therapy, and present research has revealed more specific protocols to address the various needs in therapy:
  24. A 2014 study in China found that manual acupuncture stimulation at just 2 key points, DU20 and DU14, daily for 15 days, significantly modulated the methamphetamine-induced neurochemical changes in serotonin (5-HT), dopamine (DA), acetylcholine (the main neurochemical inhibitor of excess), and acetylcholinesterase (the enzymatic control of excess acetylcholine breakdown and lack of bioavailability), in laboratory animals. Such effects could contribute greatly to the treatment outcomes for addiction:
  25. The physiology of endogenous opioid peptides, including enkaphlins such as dynorphins and endorphins, is explained in detail in this paper by Dr. Janice C. Froehlich for the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). We have seen from decades of study that one of the most dramatic effects of acupuncture and electroacupuncture stimulation is the increased production of these endogenous opioids and the activation of opioid receptors, which could obviously be employed as individuals addicted to exogenous opiates withdraw and taper from these drugs:
  26. A 2016 study at the Chinese University of Hong Kong School of Medicine, in China, noted that electroacupuncture stimulation with an alternating 2/100 Hz frequency increases endorphin, encaphlin and dynorphin expression, endogenos opioid neurotransmitters, and thus would be useful to alleviate symptoms of opiate withdrawal. The potential to alleviate anxiety and depression during withdrawal, and support brain-derived neurotrophic factor for restoration makes this treatment protocol useful as an adjunct therapy during opiate withdrawal:
  27. A 2011 functional MRI study at the Anhui College of Chinese Medicine, in Anhui, China, found that stimulation at just one common acupuncture point, ST36, markedly increased brain activity in key areas of the brain associated with heroin addiction and craving, and strong stimulation produced more marked brain activity in these key areas when the patients' attention were focused on heroin visualization. Such study demonstrates that real acupuncture stimulation could provide significant benefits within a structured treatment protocol, and presents tangible guidelines for future treatment:
  28. A 2013 study at Shanghai University found that a specific 2 Hz stimulation with electroacupuncture attenuated the FosB expression in the nucleus accumbens, a key protein over-expressed in addiction, and facilitated the extinction response of heroin craving in a modulatory manner:
  29. A 2014 study at the Daegu Haanyi University College of Oriental Medicine, in South Korea, found that stimulation at the acupuncture point HT7 attenuated morphine craving in laboratory animals, and that this was proven to be due to modulation of the GABA receptor system in the mesolimbic area of the brain:
  30. A 2015 study at the Daegu Haanyi University College of Oriental Medicine, in South Korea, and the Mudanjiang Medical University, in China, showed that stimulation at the acupuncture point SI5 decreased the craving for morphine in laboratory animals via the GABA pathway, decreasing c-Fos expression in the ventral tegmental area and the nucleus acumbens of the mesolimibic area of the brain, as measured by immunofluourescence:
  31. A 2012 study at Jianghan University, in Wuhan, China, found that a chemical in the herbs Corydalis decumbens (Xia tian wu) and Stephania sinica Diels (Hua Qian jin teng), called levo-tetrahydropalmatine, was an apparent antagonist at D1 dopamine receptors, with a much lower affinity for D2 receptors, and attenuated heroin craving in laboratory animals:
  32. A 2012 review of studies of the herbal chemical levo-tetrahydropalmatine, at the University of Maryland, in Baltimore, Maryland, noted that this standardized herbal preparation has been used successfully in China to help curb cocaine addiction, under the brand name Rotundine, and that studies show a modulatory antagonism of dopamine receptors D1, D2, D3, alpha adrenergic and serotonin receptors, with numerous animal studies showed effectiveness in laboratory animals to treat cocaine addiction. Further study at the University of Maryland found that the dopaminergic modulation was effective in both animal subjects and humans, and discussed the potential for completing a 3-stage RCT human clinical trial to obtain U.S. FDA approval:
  33. A 2012 study at the Federal University of Sao Paolo, in Brail, found that 2 Hz electroacupuncture at DU20 and DU14 reversed pERK increases in the amygdala and limbic cortex associated with alcohol craving during withdrawal in laboratory animals:
  34. A 2015 randomized controlled study of the effects of acupuncture in an integrative treatment protocol for alcoholism, at Khon Kaen University, in Khon Kaen, Thailand, found that stimulation daily for just 14 days at one point, HT7, significantly decreased malondialdehyde toxicity, and acetylcholinesterase activity in the hippocampus, and enhance glutathione metabolism and SOD antioxidant effects:
  35. A 1996 study of the use of low dose lithium orotate in a treatment protocol for alcoholism found that for 42 patients enrolled in the study, that the treatment was safe and effective, with minor adverse effects of appetite loss, muscle weakness or apathy seen in just 8 of the 42 patients over the course of 6 months, are of which were eliminated by decreasing the dosing schedule to 5 times per week instead of daily. The treatment protocol included lithium orotate, calcium and magnesium orotate, bromelain, essential phospholipids (e.g. phosphatidylcholine and serine), and a diet low in simple carbohydrates and with moderate amounts of healthy fats and protein. in this study, 10 of the 42 patients with severe alcoholism had no relapse after treatment for 10 years in followup:
  36. A 2013 review of the current scientific study of addiction with sugar, at the University of Bordeaux, France, found that laboratory studies with animals showed that sugar actually appeared to have a neurobiological potential to create an addiction cycle that was stronger than that for cocaine:
  37. A 2013 review of the Yale Food Addiction Scale, controversial but validated in a number of studies of college students and binge eaters, and now considered valid as a DSM-IV diagnosis of substance dependence, by Eastern Michigan University, shows that correct diagnosis and treatment of food addiction could result in better outcomes with obesity and weight loss in patients with food addictions. The biological mechanisms of such addictions are similar to drug addictionsfd:
  38. A 1998 study at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Mississippi, U.S.A. found that glutamate release, regulated by the kappa-opioid receptor with specific areas of the brain, mediates the expression of behavioral symptoms in addiction:
  39. A 2002 study at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Mississippi, U.S.A. found that both kappa and mu-opioid receptor mediated drug dependence is found at a part of the mesolimbic area of the brain called the paragigantiocelluaris (PGi). This research found a strong role for symptoms and behavioral responses during drug withdrawal in this nucleus accumbens system:
  40. A 2009 review of scientific studies of addiction, by a researcher from the U.S. NIH NIDA Integrative Neuroscience Section of the Intramural Research Program, in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. noted that a balance of dynorphin kappa and mu opioid receptor activity was integral to modulation of addiction, craving and dysphoria. Various drug addictions appear to affect these dynorphin receptors in a way that upsets the regulation of dopamine in key centers of the brain, such as the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex, and withdrawal appears to upregulate the kappa-opioid receptors over the mu type to create withdrawal symptoms. While the pharmaceutical industry is looking for chemicals that may block this receptor function, or antagonize it, it has been well known for decades that acupuncture and electroacupuncture exert modulatory effects on the endorphin an dynorphin opioid neurotransmitter system, and much study has demonstrated specific modulating effects of electroacupuncture with specific frequencies of microcurrent stimulation, and specific points that affect specific areas in the brain. While these pharmaceutical drugs may produce many unwanted adverse effects with chemical antagonism or blocking of the dynorphin mu-opioid receptors, acupuncture and electroacupuncture has been found to be modulating of homeostatic functions, and without adverse effects:
  41. A 2014 multicenter study at McGill University, In Quebec, Canada, and the University of Strasbourg, in France, found that distinct mechanisms of the mu, delta and kappa opioid receptors are linked to mood disorders and depressive behaviors in heroin withdrawal, with serotonin imbalance also involved. Such study shows that potential for acupuncture stimulation, which affects these opioid receptors, and all 3 types with alternating 2 - 100 Hz electrostimulation, and 5HTP, or L-tryptophan, providing serotonin bioavailability, within a holistic treatment protocol for addiction:
  42. A 2010 study at Peking University, in Beijing, China, found that electroacupuncture stimulation at 2 Hz provided inhibition of opiate-induced effects in the brain that were mediated by mu and delta opioid receptors (of endorphins, dynorphins and enkaphlins), but not kappa-opioid receptors, accelerating the release and synthesis of enkaphlin in the nucleus accumbens. These findings in laboratory animals suggest a role for the use of 2 Hz electroacupuncture stimulation at key points in the treatment of opiate addiction:
  43. A 1999 study at Beijing Medical University, Neuroscience Research Institute, in Beijing, China, found that 100 Hz electroacupuncture was very effective in relieving the withdrawal syndrome in addiction in both laboratory animals and humans. Further research found that a steady-state dynorphin release is stimulated by 100 Hz electroacupuncture at key points, helping to correct the deficiency in dynorphin kappa-opioid receptor activity consistently seen in opiate drug addiction:
  44. A description of the electroacupuncture adjunct therapy for drug addiction utilized in hospitals in Beijing, China for over a decade (Peking University Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Basis) is provided by the Neuroscience Research Institute at Beijing Medical University, and published in the British Journal of Medicine - here, we see that the standard, or basic therapy, involves 2/100 Hz alternating electroacupuncture at the LI4 points and points across from these on the palmar surface of the hands, as well as the SJ5 and P6 points on the wrists. This treatment has demonstrated the potential to modulate kappa-opioid receptor function in the brain to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms:
  45. A 2004 study at Meiji University, in Kyoto, Japan found that electroacupuncture stimulation at the lumbar and distal hindlegs modulated both excess and deficient levels of dopamine and serotonin in laboratory animals with induced restraint stress response. Moxibustion also demonstrated the ability to restore homeostatic function in relation to dopamine and serotonin at mesocortical and mesolimbic areas of the brain. Such study explains why a short course of acupuncture and moxibustion with frequent repetition, perhaps 3 times per week, could significantly help resolve such imbalances associated with withdrawal:
  46. A 2007 review of scientific study of the use of acupuncture for addiction to cigarettes, by Selcuk University Faculty of Meram Medical College, Konya, Turkey, found that since acupuncture was proven to increase levels of dopamine, serotonin, endorphin, enkephalin, epinephrine and norepinephrine in the central nervous system and blood circulation, that these effects make acupuncture an obvious potential aid in the treatment of addiction:
  47. A 2014 study in China with laboratory animals compared controls with methamphetamine-addicted subjects, measuring levels of serotonin (5-HT), dopamine (DA), acetylcholine (ACh), acetylcholine esterase (AChE), and the associated mRNA expressions, found that manual stimulation of the points DU20 and DU14, daily for 8 days, significantly downregulated the elevated levels seen in the methamphetamine addicted subjects, but not in the controls. Such study demonstrates the potential for acupuncture as an adjunct treatment for addiction, showing that modulation of key neurotransmitters and genetic expressions in the hippocampus is achieved with this therapy:
  48. A 2010 study at the University of Bern, Department of Pharmacology, in Bern, Switzerland, found that Hypericum perforatum, or St. John's Wort, acted as a significant dopamine reuptake inhibitor, as well as a reuptake inhibitor of serotonin and norepinephrine, and thus had an obvious application in treatment of addiction:
  49. A 2006 study at Shanghai University of TCM, China, found that electroacupuncture stimulation at SP6 Sanyinjiao of low frequency and low intensity produced a decrease in the heroin craving in animal studies compared to standard needle stimulation and strong intensity electroacupuncture at the point. The stimulation also showed a measurable decrease in the FosB expression in the basolateral amygdala and nucleus accumbens, which has been characterized as a molecular switch for addiction:
  50. A 2001 study at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center describes the FosB protein expression in the basolateral amygdala and nucleus accumbens as a sustained molecular switch for addiction. Utilization of low frequency low intensity stimulation at SP6 with electroacupuncture is one way to decrease this sustained signal associated with addiction:
  51. A 2008 study at the Central South University in Changsha, China, confirmed that electroacupuncture as well as needle retention could attenuate the heroin-seeking or craving behavior of laboratory animals by attenuating the FosB expression in relevant brain areas:
  52. A 2005 study at Kyung Hee University, in Seoul, South Korea, showed that acupuncture stimulation at the points HT7 and ST36 lowered the number of immunoreactive cells in the basolateral amygdala of laboratory animals with induced anxiety:
  53. A 2008 study at Kyung Hee University, in Seoul, South Korea, showed that acupuncture stimulation at the points HT7 and ST36 lowered the corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) and increased the neuropeptide Y (NPY) in the amygdala during nicotine withdrawal of study animals, demonstrating the ability of this stimulation to improve the negative affect state of anxiety seen in nicotine withdrawal:
  54. A 2005 study at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, showed that alcohol intake in laboratory animals ameliorated anxiety-like behavior by PKA-dependent CREB phosphorylation of neuropeptide Y expression in the amygdala, and that decreased neuropeptide Y expression was associated with alcohol addiction and high anxiety states in addiction. Acupuncture stimulation may modulate the amygdala functions, and the supplement PKA may be added to anxiolytic herbs and supplements to support this protocol:
  55. A 2014 multicenter study in China and South Korea found that electroacupuncture stimulation at the point HT7 rescues the depletion of neuropeptide Y in the Amygdala in laboratory subjects with alcohol withdrawal. This study, at Mudanjiang Medical University and Yanbian University in China, and the Daegu Haanyi University College of Oriental Medicine, also showed that electroacupuncture stimulation at HT7 reversed the decrease in CREB phosphorylation in the amygdala to relieve anxiety and promote relief of withdrawal symptoms in alcohol withdrawal:
  56. A 2011 study at Mudanjiang Medical University, Mudanjiang, China, found that acupuncture at the point HT7 attentuated anxiety-like behavior in laboratory animals during alcohol withdrawal, regulation the neuroendocrine system by modulating the measurable increases in dopamine and norepinephrine during withdrawal:
  57. A 2010 study at Daegu Haany University, Daegu, South Korea, found that acupuncture stimulation at HT7, but not at LI5, reduced dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens and affected the GABA mechanism, resulting a significant decrease in morphine craving in laboratory studies:
  58. A 2013 study at Mudanjiang Medical University, in Mudanjiang, China, found that electroacupuncture stimulation at the point HT7 aided anxiety and alcohol craving during withdrawal by affecting the corticotropin-releasing factor in the amygdala. Prior studies had shown that the positive effects were mediated by normalizing catecholamines, such as norepinephrine (adrenaline) and dopamine in the amygdala, but this study showed that this stimulation actually affected the expression of receptors in this part of the brain. The researchers also noted that alternate acupuncture points, both close to HT7, at P6, and on the tail of the laboratory subject, did not have this affect:
  59. A 2014 study at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, in Beijing, China, found that acupuncture stimulation could achieve broad measurable biochemical effects in the hippocampus and hypothalamus, relieving stress-induced hyper-excitation and anxiety, by affecting the expression of neural receptors, and that this modulating effect could also affect the pituitary hormone expression and adrenal function. The effects included a decrease in stress-related hormones, called glucocorticoids (GC), as well as the reduction of glucocorticoid receptor protein expression (GR) in the adrenal glands:
  60. A 2014 randomized controlled human clinical trial at China Medical University, in Taichung, Taiwan, found that a simple short course of acupuncture integrated with methodone treatment for withdrawal from heroin significantly benefited the treatment outcomes, with less methodone dosage needed, a greater improvement in sleep latency, and reduced craving:
  61. A 2009 study at Soochow University, Suzhou, China, found that chemicals in the Chinese herbs Corydalis (Yan hu suo) and Stephania tetrandra (Han Fang ji), levo-tetrahydropalmatine, prevented biomedical addictive changes in the nucleus accumbens of laboratory animals conditioned to oxycodone addiction, supporting the use of these herbs in adjunct treatment of oxycodone addiction:
  62. A 2014 study at the Jianghan University Drug Prevention and Education Center, and the Wuhan Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, in Shanghai, China, found that active chemicals in the Chinese herb Stephania tetrandra (Fang ji), L-Stepholidine, attenuated heroin craving in laboratory animals by acting as a modulating dopamine receptor attenuator, as an agonist of the D1 receptor and antagonist of the D2 receptor:
  63. A 2014 randomized controlled human clinical study at the National Institute on Drug Dependence at Peking University, in Beijing, China, found that the Chinese herbal formula Jitai tablets significantly restored plasma cortisol levels in heroin addicts during withdrawal. This formula consists of Yan hu suo (Corydalis), Yang jin hua (Solanaceae datura), Dan shen (Salvia miltiorrhiza), Ren shen (ginseng), Dang gui (Angelica sinensis), Chuan xiong (Ligusticum), Hong hua (Carthamus), Fu zi (Ranunculacea Aconite), Rou dou kou (Myristica), Mu xiang (Aucklandia), Chen xiang (Thymelaeceae Aquilaria), Gan jiang (aged Ginger root), Rou gui (cinnamon cortex), Tao ren (Persicae seed), and Zhen zhu fen (pearl powder), and is based on a classic herbal formula to treat neuropsychiatric disorders. A number of common TCM formulas contain these herbs, showing the potential for TCM and herbal medicine in the treatment of drug withdrawal:
  64. A 2013 study at the University of Medyczny and the Institute Wlokien Naturalnuch, in Poland, found that a number of herbal chemicals have been proven effective in the treatment of alcohol and nicotine addiction, including Passiflora incarnata, Pueraria lobata (Ge gen, or Kudzu), and the Salvias (Dan shen), with specfic chemical effects, such as modulation of endogenous opioid receptors and reversible inhibition of aldehyde dehydrogenase linked to therapeutic effects. With so little actual study so far in standard medical research, this obviously represents only the tip of the iceberg of useful herbal chemicals:
  65. A 2004 study at the DongGuk University School of Medicine, in Kyungju City, South Korea, showed that chemicals in the Chinese herb Salvia miltiorrhiza (Dan shen) both inhibits superoxide generation in the brain of laboratory animals with induced addiction to amphetamine, and withdrawal, but also actually mimics the action of the amphetamine on the striatal dopamine release to facilitate the withdrawal. A water extract was used:
  66. A 2013 study in China found that a Chinese herb used to treat alcohol toxicity, Potentilla chinensis (Wei ling cai), attenuated alcohol-induced liver injury by a number of activities, with a key chemical, asiatic acid, attenuating oxidative stress, as well as inhibiting excess Kupfer cell activation by decreasing levels of plasma endotoxin and expression of pathological cytokines. This herbal chemical was found to significantly decrease the cell toxin malondialehyde and the oxidant myeloperoxidase in blood plasma, restore healthy levels of glutathione and SOD, and decrease the expression of problematic pro-inflammatory cytokines associated with alcohol toxicity, such as Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a), interleukin 1-beta (IL-1b), inducible nitric oxide synthase, and COX-2:
  67. A 2005 study at the Institute of Endocrinology, in Prague, Czech Republic, found that alcoholism is one of the causes of menstrual irregularities and PMS, and relative progesterone deficiency and hormonal imbalance lies at the heart of this phenomenon. Relative ratios of steroid hormones, deficiency of pregnenolone, and relative deficiency over time of expression of steroid hormone receptor subtypes and receptor imbalance was found to contribute. The relative deficiency of pregnenolone affects neuroinhibition, and contributes to both ovarian dysfunction and psychosomatic stability in alcohol addiction. Such study demonstrates the potential benefit of hormonal balancing and the intelligent use of progesterone and pregnenolone topical creams in the holistic protocol:
  68. A 2015 study at the Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, in Leipzing, Germany, found with fMRI studies that progesterone plays a significant role in functional connectivity in key areas of the brain, which are also linked to the addiction pathology, such as the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. Such study demonstrates the potential for hormonal balancing and intelligent guided use of bioidentical hormone creams to stimulate progesterone and pregenelone and correct imbalances within the menstrual cycle in women with alcohol addiction:
  69. A 2014 randomized controlled human study, at the Yale University School of Medicine, in New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A. demonstrated how restoration of progesterone balance reduces cocaine addiction in postpartum women:
  70. The Yale Food Addiction Scale is explained here with a link to the quiz to help determine if you may have a food addiction:
  71. A review of the explosion of scientific research showing that food addictions may be equivalent to drug addictions biomedically is presented here on Bloomberg News in 2011:
  72. Proof that glutamate food additives, now widely used in the food industry, do indeed create addiction, was presented in a randomized controlled laboratory study by researchers at the Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, in Bucharest, Romania, in 2013:
  73. As new protocols for outpatient care without stigmatization and sequestration of addicts are instituted, voices like these, at the University of California San Francisco, are calling for both the public and health providers to exact vigilance in assuring that such care meets the standards of best practice in health care, and that the science adapts to an expanded model of care, hopefully integrating Complementary Medicine as well:
  74. A 2010 randomized controlled human clinical trial of acupuncture integrated into treatment for eating disorders, anorexia nervosa and bulimia, at the Victoria University School of Medicine, in Melbourne, Australia, noted that integration of acupuncture showed significant benefit with measures of anxiety and behavior, and improvement in quality of life:
  75. An article in the Atlantic in 2014 reviews current study of the 12-step treatment strategy of Alcoholics Anonymous and its alleged success, revealing that numerous studies cite a very low success rate of 5-10 percent in peer-reviewed studies, and a claim of only 12 percent by AA of long-term sobriety. Many experts in the field cite the need to gauge recovery of alcohol addiction by more than just abstinence, though, and cite the need for a scientific, rather than faith-based approach, to actually achieve a cure. With a mandate for actual treatment in the Healthcare Affordability Act in the United States, a call to address the disease, not just the abstaining from a specific focus of addiction, or addictive substance, is now demanded, and many experts think that it is time to get rid of the term alcoholic, and treat addiction instead. Abstinence from one substance or behavior may do little to cure the actual disease, with another substance or behavior easily substituted:
  76. A 1998 review of scientific study of alcoholism by Harvard Medical School and their close associate in research, Massachusetts General Hospital, who has easy access to actual patients, determined that alcoholism is a disease primarily characterized by dysregulation of the glutamate metabolism in the brain leading to excitotoxicity and excess expression of glutamate NMDA receptors. The conclusion was that we should treat alcoholism by correction of glutamatergic dysregulation:
  77. A 1980 review of scientific study of alcoholics by the Royal Postgraduate Medical School in London, United Kingdom, found that autopsy studies showed a depletion of the enzyme needed to break down the byproduct of alcohol, acetaldehyde, in the cytosol, but not the mitochondria, of liver cells. Acetaldehyde toxicity is what creates the hangover symptoms and is now known to be part of the pathology of many chronic fatigue syndromes. Acetaldehydes are also created from excess fungal growth in the body and consumed from the environment, with acetaldehyde toxicity now a known component of a variety of diseases:
  78. A 1982 review of scientific study of alcoholics and acetaldehyde metabolism by the Medical Research Council Clinical Research Centre, Middlesex, United Kingdom, followed up on the above study, noting a sustained deficiency of cytosol acetaldehyde dehydrogenase after stopping alcohol consumption, and the existence of isomer forms of this enzyme in the cytosol compared to the mitochondria of liver cells:
  79. A 2014 study at the Federal University de Grande do Sul, in Porta Alegre, Brazil, found that chronic alcohol toxicity will result in aldehyde toxicity that presents almost twice the inhibition of glutamate uptake in key areas of the brain associated with addiction, and that aldehyde presented much more toxicity than alcohol to the brain, as well as much more contribution to the cycle of addiction, and symptoms in alcoholism:
  80. A 2014 study at the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.A. showed that alcohol-induced acetaldehyde toxicity has been designated as cancer causing to humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and that studies in recent years have shown that genetic pathology is related to such pathologies related to alcoholism as cancer and fetal injury. Aldehyde toxicity was found to inhibit DNA repair and affect both epigenetic stability as well as mitochondrial function:
  81. A 2013 study at Kanazawa University, in Uchinada, Japan, found that advanced glycation endproducts, induced by alcohol-induced acetaldehyde toxicity, is a key aspect to the liver damage seen in alcoholism:
  82. A 2014 meta-review of scientific studies of N-acetyl cysteine as an adjunct treatment protocol for addiction, at the Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Deakin University School of Medicine, in Geelong, Australia, found that this nutritional medicine showed significant benefits in cocaine, nicotine and cannabis dependence by acting on the glutaminergic pathway of addiction:
  83. A 2011 study of the physiological benefits of N-acetyl cysteine as an adjunct treatment in psychiatry and addiction, at the University of Melbourne, Australia, and Deakin University, in Victoria, Australia, explains the many benefits that N-acetyl cysteine provides, aiding glutamate and dopamine homestasis, providing antioxidant effects, and reducing key inflammatory cytokines. Numerous other studies show benefits in reducing aldehyde toxicity and parameters of liver toxicity: