How Electrical Acupuncture Stimulation Reduces Level of Anxiety
A study published in J. Psychiatr Res. 2016 by Feng B. et. al. used transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation (TEAS) to treat OCD. In this randomized controlled trial, researchers divided 360 people with OCD into three groups for a 12-week study: electrical acupuncture was combined with behavioral therapy and a medication called clomipramine in group A. In group B, electrical stimulation was combined with behavioral therapy without medication, and in group C, simulated acupuncture stimulation was combined with behavioral therapy and medication. Each group included 120 people with OCD. The Yale-Brown Obsessive-compulsive Scale was used to compare the therapeutic results among groups A, B, and C. OCD symptoms were reduced in all three groups, but groups A and B had a significantly greater reduction in the Yale-Brown Obsessive-compulsive total score between week 2 and week 12 compared to group C.
Groups A and B, with the electrical stimulation, had significantly higher rates of clinical response than Group C (88.3% and 81.7% vs. 67.5%, respectively, p < 0.001), and higher rates of remission (30.0% and 22.5% vs. 9.2%, respectively, p < 0.001). Group B, without medication, experienced fewer adverse events than the other two groups. Electrical acupuncture stimulation can help patients gain more therapeutic effect when it is combined with behavioral therapy. If patients with OCD cannot tolerate the side effect of the medication, combining electrical acupuncture stimulation with behavioral therapy can help patients to cope with OCD and live a relatively normal life.
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