Electro-acupuncture improves psychiatric symptoms, anxiety and depression in methamphetamine addicts during abstinence: A randomized controlled trial

Medicine (Baltimore). 2018 Aug;97(34):e11905. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000011905.


Background: It aimed to observe the effect of electro-acupuncture on the improvement of psychiatric symptoms, as well as anxiety and depression in methamphetamine (MA) addicts during abstinence using randomized controlled trials.

Methods: All patients in the present study received compulsory drug detoxification in Shanghai Drug Rehabilitation Center. All patients were enrolled consecutively from June 2014 to February 2015; data collection was completed in March 2015. According to the randomized, single-blind and control principle, 68 men MA addicts were randomly divided into 2 groups: electro-acupuncture (EA) and sham electro-acupuncture (sham-EA) groups. Patients were given 20 minutes EA or sham-EA treatment every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with a total of 4 weeks. Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAMA), and Hamilton Depression Scale (HAMD) were used to evaluate the patients' psychotic symptoms, anxiety and depression before treatment and after receiving treatment with 1 to 4 weeks, respectively.

Results: EA could effectively improve the symptoms of psychosis, anxiety, and depression during abstinence in patients with MA addiction. In terms of PANSS score, the scores for positive symptoms and general psychopathological symptoms in patients after receiving 1 to 4 weeks of treatment were significantly decreased compared with the control group, while the score for negative symptoms was significantly decreased after receiving 2 and 4 weeks of treatment. For the HAMA score, the psychotic anxiety scores in patients receiving 1 to 4 weeks of treatment were significant lower than the control group. In terms of HAMD score, there was a significant reduction in anxiety/somatization and sleep disturbance scores after the 4 weeks of EA treatment.

Conclusion: Electroacupuncture helps to improve psychiatric symptoms and anxiety and depression in MA addicts during abstinence, and promote rehabilitation of patients.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Points
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • China
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Electroacupuncture / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methamphetamine / adverse effects*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychoses, Substance-Induced / psychology
  • Psychoses, Substance-Induced / therapy*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / psychology*


  • Methamphetamine