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Acupuncture Treatment for Women With Concurrent Substance Use and Anxiety/Depression: An Effective Alternative Therapy?

Courbasson, Christine M.A. PhD, CPsych; de Sorkin, Alicia Araujo DPs, CPsych; Dullerud, Berit MSW, RSW; Van Wyk, Lucy MSW, RSW

doi: 10.1097/01.FCH.0000264408.36013.03

This exploratory study evaluated the benefits of adding auricular acupuncture to a 21-day outpatient structured psychoeducational treatment program for women with concurrent substance use problems, anxiety, and depression. Women receiving acupuncture (n = 185) reported having reduced physiological cravings for substances, felt significantly less depressed, less anxious, and were better able to reflect on and resolve difficulties than women in the control group (n = 101). It was found that auricular acupuncture, as an adjunct therapy to a comprehensive psychoeducational treatment program for women with addictions, shows promise in being an effective, more viable treatment alternative to anxiolytics.

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (Dr Courbasson); the Community Mental Health, Addictions After Care and Senior Wellness Programs (Dr de Sorkin) and Community Mental Health and Addiction Service (Ms Dullerud), Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network; and the Jean Tweed Centre (Ms Van Wyk), Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Corresponding author: Christine M.A. Courbasson, PhD, CPsych, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 33 Russell St, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 2S1 (e-mail:

The authors are grateful for the assistance of Jacqueline Heron, Rida Walis, and Jacqueline M. Brunshaw for data analysis, report writing, and editing.

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.