Ear acupuncture for alcohol withdrawal in comparison with aromatherapy: a randomized-controlled trial



Ear acupuncture for alcohol withdrawal in comparison with aromatherapy: a randomized-controlled trial








Research Type




Background: There is increasing clinical acceptance of acupuncture as a treatment of substance-related disorders. Little is known about acupuncture as a treatment for the withdrawal syndrome in inpatient settings. We compared auricular needle acupuncture with aromatherapy in reducing the duration and severity of symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Methods: Inpatients undergoing alcohol withdrawal were randomly allocated to needle acupuncture (n=55) and aromatherapy (n=54). Both therapies were applied daily during the first 5 consecutive treatment days. The rating scale for the assessment of the alcohol-withdrawal syndrome (AWS scale) served as the main dependent variable and was applied daily during the first 5 days of the withdrawal. Further measures included a subjective visual analog scale of craving and the Self Assessment Manikin (SAM). Results: Thirty-six of the 55 patients who received acupuncture, and 38 of the 54 patients who received aromatherapy, finished the study regularly. The groups differed in their initial self-reported arousal, which then served as a covariate in the further analyses. Neither the extent of craving nor of withdrawal symptoms differed between groups over the observation period. Self-rated arousal decreased in response to both treatments from days 1 to 2 (p<0.001) and within single days (p<0.001), and we found a significant interaction between pretreatment versus posttreatment and days (p<0.001). Interactions including between-subjects effects and intervention did not achieve the significance level. Conclusion: The results do not support the assumption of a superiority of acupuncture over the control therapy in its specific effects on alcohol withdrawal symptoms

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has health condition studied

Substance-Related Disorders



has study population number


has duration

1 Week

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