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Acupuncture treatment of a male patient suffering from long-term schizophrenia and sleep disorders

Author: P Bosch, H Staudte, S Yeo, SH Lee, S Lim, M van den Noort
Page: 862

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of chronic schizophrenia and co-morbid sleep disorders. METHODS: A 42-year-old German male outpatient, suffering from long-term schizophrenia and sleep disorders, entered the study. Acupuncture was used as a non-pharmacological intervention. In addition to his ongoing Western Medicine (pharmacological) treatment, the patient received 12 weekly (non-standardized) acupuncture treatments in the clinic. The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnosis, the psychological assessment and the actiwatch data were compared before and after the acupuncture treatment. RESULTS: The TCM diagnosis revealed a Liver Fire pattern before the acupuncture treatment, which was still present, although to a lesser degree, after the treatment. The psychological assessment revealed no change in the positive symptoms, but a small decrease in the negative symptoms and the general psychopathology of the patient. This was further illustrated by the small decrease in the number of depressive symptoms. The subjective sleep disorders improved markedly after acupuncture treatment, but the daytime sleepiness did not. The actiwatch results showed that after acupuncture treatment, the patient was moving less during sleep, but no significant results were found for the other sleep parameters. CONCLUSION: Acupuncture was found to be an effective non-pharmacological add-on method for treating subjective sleep disorders, and, to a lesser degree, objective sleep disorders and the negative symptoms of chronic schizophrenia. Future larger clinical trials with follow-up measurements are needed in order to replicate the present preliminary beneficial acupuncture findings and in order to determine whether the observed effects can be sustained.

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