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Can Acupuncture help in treatment of psychiatric disorders?

By: Dr. Emad Tukmachi, clinical Director of the UK ACPUNCTURE CLINIC

Acupuncture has proved beneficial in many forms of psychiatric illnesses and mental disorders such as Neurasthenia, psychoneuroses, schizophrenia, depression, behavior problems of children, drug addictions, mental states associated with old age and epilepsy.
The selection of acupuncture points in psychiatric conditions requires much specialized knowledge and clinical acumen in evaluating the patient’s condition. Treatment should be given twice weekly, until the condition is controlled; this may take 20 setting or more, and booster treatments should be given every week for some months
The acupuncture therapy is usually tried in our clinics without drug therapy. However, we believe it can also be profitably combined with the patient current drug therapy, where indicated.

The following are some typical examples of the treatment given in some psychiatric disorders:

A much misused term, it is generally used as a label for lassitude not attributable to any recognized organic illness. It is often encountered in persons having anxiety neurosis and tension states with tiredness as the main symptom. Other associated symptoms are nervousness, irritability, anxiety, depression, insomnia, headaches and sexual disorders.

This is a condition which is wholly psychological in origin, characterized mainly by dissociation (i.e. apparent cutting off of one part of the mind from the other). There is a diversity of symptoms, e.g., tics paralysis, fits, which do not seem to accord with any positive findings on physical examination.

Schizophrenia (or “a split mind”) is a type of functional psychosis or mental derangement characterized by a pattern of symptoms such delusions (e.g. of the patient’s own importance, persecution by others), disorder of thought, hallucinations (usually of hearing) and general lassitude. It occurs mainly in young and middle aged persons.

This may be described as a disorder of mood which is deeper and longer than what would normally expected from that particular person. There is a general impairment of all mental processes and of physical functions such as appetite, sleep, sex and work.

In what is called reactive depression, the patient reacts to external events to a greater extent and for longer than circumstances warrant. Where the reasons for the misery seem to arise from within the patient himself it is referred to as endogenous depression. It should be noted that severe depression may be a symptom of other more serious mental illness like maniac-depressive psychosis.

(Premature ejaculation): The absence of sexual drive in the male may be due either to organic or more usually to psychological factors. When it is due to organic factors (e.g., diabetes mellitus, alcoholism, tabes dorsalis) the underlying cause may have to be treated first.
Ejaculatio praecox or the too early emission of semen during intercourse may be a precursor to impotence and is associated with debility of the patient.

The treatment of drug addiction with acupuncture is an experimental field with much promise. The pioneering work by specialists in Hong Kong at Neuro-Surgical Unit of Kwong Wah Hospital, has shown that relieving the drug withdrawal syndrome and counteracting drug addiction can be successfully done with acupuncture for various types of addictions: Drugs, Food (Obesity), alcohol, smoking, Betel chewing and Glue sniffing. The specialist at that hospital have recently adopted a method in which they commence with a three and half hour sitting using similar acupuncture points and electrical stimulation. They believe that the maximal elevation of the body’s own endogenous opiates helps as a booster to commence the therapy. Better long term results are claimed using this newer techniques. The results of this new technique have not yet been published.

Acupuncture is helpful and  effective in treating psychiatric disorders.  If you want further information on this subject please contact the clinical director of the UK ACUPUNCTURE CLINIC


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