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Auricular acupuncture in prison psychiatric units: a pilot study

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Berman AH, Lundberg U. Auricular acupuncture in prison psychiatric units: a pilot study Acta Psychiatr Scand 2002: 106 (Suppl. 412): –157. © Blackwell Munksgaard 2002. Objective:

The study explores whether auricular acupuncture can be a viable treatment form for inmates in prison psychiatric units. Method:

Inmates in a prison psychiatric unit and in a support unit for violent behavior were offered group treatment with auricular acupuncture three times a week over a period of 9 months. Another prison psychiatric unit served as a control group. Results:

Twenty-two inmates received treatment, and 11 inmates received treatment for over 8 weeks. Cortisol levels were higher for inmates in the support unit than for the other two groups. Inmates treated at least 25 times were prescribed fewer psycholeptic drugs than controls. Perceived autonomy increased for treated inmates in the psychiatric unit. Inmates treated for over 8 weeks experienced improved inner harmony and calm and better clarity over future plans. Conclusion:

Acupuncture is a non-verbal form of treatment appropriate for prison psychiatric units. The treatment facilitates contact and complements other psycho-social treatment forms.
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Keywords: auricular acupuncture; prison; stress hormones; substance abuse; violence management

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Publication date: June 1, 2002

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