How Electrical Acupuncture Stimulation Reduces Level of Anxiety

BOSTON - Aug. 13, 2019 - PRLog -- People who have high talents in Math tend to develop obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) because they have the tendency to over-focus on the subject they are studying. Computer games are designed to get people addicted, as also does the iPhone. When people are playing a game or using the iPhone, the dopamine level goes up temporarily; they are happy and forget about their stressful daily life. Doing math and science takes effort and is boring work. People tend to avoid hard work and play computer games that can quickly make them feel good for a short period of time. However, the game does not help the body to produce more feeling-good hormones: dopamine, endorphins, and GABA. On the other hand, sitting for long hours will slow down their digestion and circulation, ruin their eyesight and make their neck and back hurt. Furthermore, eventually, the dopamine and endorphin levels will drop to very low values with all the stimulation, at which point people with OCD become depressed. Therefore, we need to use different treatments to help such people to overcome OCD so that they can live their routine lives and minimize computer game time.

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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