New report on acupuncture for schizophrenia

Research on how effective acupuncture is as a treatment for schizophrenia has produced mixed results, but a new report suggests that the ancient needling method could help improve daily function and mental disturbances in patients with the condition.

The study, which was published in Acupuncture in Medicine, documented a group of patients that were treated with acupuncture twice per week for a total of 10 weeks. Results showed that the study participants had decreased side effects from their antipsychotic medication, fewer auditory, visual and tactile hallucinations, and improved sleep patterns. Anxiety and paranoia symptoms also seemed to improve over the study period, the researchers said.

Other studies on acupuncture as a schizophrenia treatment method have shown that the practice might help alleviate addictive behaviors, too, like alcohol and cigarette use.

The researchers performed a case study on a 63-year-old woman who suffered from chronic hallucinations and the sense that a "bird was pecking at her back." After acupuncture treatments, the woman reported that the hallucinations still existed but that they were less disturbing. Her pain and depression were also reduced significantly. Three months after the treatment period, the patient appeared to have lasting results from the acupuncture, the study reported.

"Although larger clinical intervention studies on acupuncture and schizophrenia are needed, the results of this case study indicate that acupuncture may be beneficial as an add on treatment tool in patients with schizophrenia," the authors wrote.

Source: Healthcare Medicine Institute
Image courtesy of Praisaeng/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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