Patients' experience of auricular acupuncture during protracted withdrawal

J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2014 Mar;21(2):163-9. doi: 10.1111/jpm.12028. Epub 2012 Dec 12.


Over the last decades interest in using auricular acupuncture for substance dependence care has increased. The specific auricular acupuncture protocol used follows the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) definition. This paper describes patients' experiences of receiving auricular acupuncture during protracted withdrawal. Interviews were conducted with 15 patients treated at an outpatient clinic for substance dependence. Content analysis was used to analyse the interviews. The analysis resulted in seven categories of positive experiences and seven categories of negative experiences. The positive experiences were: Relaxation and well-being, Peacefulness and harmony, New behaviours, Positive physical impact, Importance of context, Anxiety reduction and Reduced drug and alcohol consumption. The negative experiences were: Nothing negative, Disturbing context, Short-term effect, Depending on someone else, Time-consuming, Physical distractions and Remaining cravings. The conclusion of this study is that all respondents appreciated NADA treatment. This study supports further research on using NADA in addiction treatment to reduce suffering during protracted withdrawal and in other contexts.

Keywords: NADA; acupuncture; alcohol dependence; auricular acupuncture; experiences; post-acute withdrawal.

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture, Ear / methods*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Outcome Assessment*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / therapy*