Acupuncture for psychiatric illness

Samuels N et al. Acupuncture for psychiatric illness: a literature review.
Behav Med 2008; 34: 55-64

A literature review of acupuncture for psychiatric illness, which presents research that found acupuncture to increase central nervous system hormones, including ACTH, beta-endorphins, serotonin, and noradrenaline. It concludes that acupuncture can have positive effects on anxiety and depression.

Acupuncture in post stroke anxiety

Wu P, Liu S. Clinical observation on post-stroke anxiety neurosis treated by acupuncture.
J Tradit Chin Med 2008; 28: 186-8.

A randomised controlled trial assessing the effect of acupuncture on post-stroke anxiety neurosis, in which 34 patients received acupuncture treatment supplemented by electroacupuncture and 33 patients had oral alprazolam. Anxiety symptoms (measured using the Hamilton Anxiety scale [HAMA]) were relieved in 82.35% of patients given acupuncture, with no difference as compared with the alprazolam group. The researchers concluded that acupuncture is a safe, effective and important method for treating post-stroke anxiety neurosis.

Acupuncture in general anxiety disorder

Yuan Q. Li J.-N. Liu B. Wu Z.-F. Jin R. Effect of Jin-3-needling therapy on plasma corticosteroid, adrenocorticotropic hormone and platelet 5-HT levels in patients with generalized anxiety disorder.
Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine.2007; 13 (4): 264-268.

A 6-week randomised controlled trial that compared acupuncture with anti-anxiety drugs and with acupuncture and drugs combined, in 86 patients with generalised anxiety disorder. Both clinical and biochemical effects were measured before and after treatment. Anxiety levels on the clinical global impression scale were similar in the three groups, though favoured acupuncture in the efficacy component. The platelet concentration of serotonin and plasma ACTH fell significantly but similarly in all groups, while corticosterone levels did not change. The reviewers concluded that acupuncture had a similar anti-anxiety effect to routine Western medicine but with less unwanted effects, and that this effect may be realised through regulating serotonin and ACTH.