Heroin Withdrawal Treated with Acupuncture and Herbs
Chief Complaint: Heroin Addiction
Medical History: The patient presents as a 27 year-old male from New Orleans, LA. He began using heroin intravenously one year ago and had previously suffered an attack of acute pericarditis, which was successfully treated in the emergency room. The patient was eager to quit heroin and no longer associate with his user friends. He had not used heroin in 3 days, but admitted to chain-smoking cigarettes to ease the cravings.
Questioning exam: Chief complaints: Irritability, insomnia, anxiety, heroin cravings, thirst, depression, constipation, poor appetite.
Pulse exam: Pulse examination revealed thready (fine)and rapid heart and lung positions, with wiry liver position.
Tongue exam: Tongue examination revealed red petichae along front and side edges, with mirror-like red tongue surface and small yellow coating in the rear.
OM Diagnosis: TCM pattern: Yin deficiency affecting heart and lung due to drug intoxication.
Treatment Principle: Treatment method: Nourish Yin, sedate cravings
Point Prescription: Auriculotherapy along with acupuncture was used in a series of 12 treatments (four per week for 3 weeks) with 3 subsequent follow up treatments. Ear: Shenmen, Balance, Sympathetic, Heart, Lung. Acupuncture: Liv 3, Li 4, Lu 7, K 6, Yintang, Du 20, Sp 6
Herbal Formula: Herbal: Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan (15/tid) was given for sedation, which the patient responded to quite well.
Lifestyle Prescription: The patient surrounded himself with family and friends for support and, due to a near-fatal encounter previously, he was ready to change his life and give up his heroin addiction permanently.
Results: The patient successfully withdrew from heroin and cigarettes, and felt acupuncture and herbal medicine greatly reduced his cravings. Coupled with a healthy diet and walks on the beach, the patient’s bowel movements returned to normal. He resisted the tempation of relapse and has kept in touch over the last 5 years. The last I heard, he had just opened his own retail store in Manhattan.