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Pilot Study of Chinese Medicine in Relieving Insomnia and Fatigue of Methamphetamine Addicts

Object: To relieve Methamphetamine addicts from withdrawal symptoms of intense fatigue and insomnia by using herbal medicine in an innovative approach of integrated collaboration between the Psychiatrist and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Practitioner.

Methods: 56 Methamphetamine addicts willing to withdraw from their dependence on the drug were recruited in a Pilot Study Program of Integrated Treatment given by the Psychiatrist and Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner. For the first three weeks of management, the TCM Practitioner freely prescribed herbal medication according to his observations on symptoms and syndrome related to unbalanced “kidney function”. This was followed by five weeks of treatment using a simple uniform herbal formula targeting towards promotion of better sleep. Vital responses were designed by the Psychiatrist according to international testified principles, using Fatigue Severity Scale; Anxiety Score; Insomnia Severity and Epworth Sleepiness Scale; Craving Scale and Motivation for Withdrawal.

Results: Comparing pretreatment and post treatment (8 weeks) data, Insomnia was much improved (p<0.01); feelings of fatigue depression and anxiety were also improved (< 0.01). Craving for drug was lessened and determination to continue withdrawal was felt.

Conclusion: Using TCM treatment to help Methamphetamine addicts to overcome fatigue, anxiety, depression and insomnia during their withdrawal exercise gave promising results. The special collaborative, integrative arrangement between the Psychiatrist and the TCM Practitioner was proven to be a practical approach to ensure mutual respect and to get the best out of the two different systems of medical care.


Lau HC, Lau TY, Tang KL, Wing YK, Kong SL, Cheng KF, Leung YK, Leung PC

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