NADA Ear Acupuncture: An Adjunctive Therapy to Improve and Maintain Positive Outcomes in Substance Abuse Treatment

Behav Sci (Basel). 2017 Jun 16;7(2):37. doi: 10.3390/bs7020037.


The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association protocol (NADA) is an adjunctive therapy using 1 to 5 invariant ear acupuncture/acupressure points. This is a randomized prospective study to determine if NADA plus traditional treatment enhance outcomes: quality of life, depression, anxiety and abstinence from substance abuse. There were 100 patients enrolled in the Keystone Substance Abuse Services-Winthrop University Department of Sociology and Anthropology NADA study. All patients completed Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale (GAD-7), Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire (Q-LES) prior to starting the program and at program completion. Patients self-reported alcohol, tobacco, and drug use prior to starting the program at program completion and at 3 and 6 month follow- up. Patient characteristics are predictive of completion versus non-completion when race, criminal history and initial drug test is considered. Those identified as nonwhite, (p < 0.05) and patients with positive initial drug test, (p < 0.01) were more likely to complete treatment in the NADA group. Also, among patients with criminal history a higher percentage failed to complete the program in the control group (p < 0.05). Participation in NADA positively associated with Q-LES score (p < 0.05), feeling better about oneself and improved energy (p < 0.05), likelihood of employment upon discharge (p < 0.05), and decreased alcohol use at 3 month follow up (p < 0.05) and 6-month follow-up (p < 0.01). NADA group reported less tobacco use at 6 months (p < 0.05).

Keywords: The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association protocol (NADA); acudetox; addiction; behavioral health; ear acupuncture; substance abuse.