Researchers from the University of Louisville recently studied the potential efficacy and acceptability of acupuncture for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and found some promising outcomes lasting three months post-treatment.. Researchers from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Louisville, KY recently published a study evaluating the potential efficacy and acceptability of acupuncture for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

People diagnosed with PTSD were randomized to either an empirically developed acupuncture treatment (ACU), a group cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), or a wait-list control (WLC). The primary outcome measure was self-reported PTSD symptoms at baseline, end of treatment, and 3-month follow-up.

Compared with the wait list condition, acupuncture provided large treatment effects for PTSD (F [1, 46] = 12.60; p < 0.01; Cohen''s d = 1.29), similar in magnitude to group CBT (F [1, 47] = 12.45; p < 0.01; d = 1.42) (ACU vs. CBT, d = 0.29). Symptom reductions at the end of treatment were maintained at the 3-month follow-up for both interventions.

The study concludes that acupuncture may be an efficacious and acceptable non-exposure treatment option for PTSD. They caution that larger trials with additional controls and methods are warranted to replicate and extend these findings.

Citation: Hollifield M, Sinclair-Lian N, Warner TD, Hammerschlag R. Acupuncture for posttraumatic stress disorder: a randomized controlled pilot trial. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disorders. 2007 Jun; 195 (6): pages 504-13.