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Natural and Alternative Treatments Index Page | Conditions:

Opioid Use Disorder

Related Terms:
  • Narcotic Addiction; Drug Addiction; Opioid Abuse and Dependence; Substance Abuse; Chemical Dependency; Narcotic Addiction


Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a harmful pattern of opioid use. It leads to problems with how you relate to your family, friends, and others. Opioids are a class of very addictive drugs from the opium plant. These are morphine, oxycodone and heroin. Cocaine and methamphetamine are not opioids. But they are also very addictive and may lead to the same problems. People keep using these drugs so they don’t have withdrawal problems.

There is no cure. Treatments can help. It depends on how badly you are addicted. It always means not using the drugs. The cause is often complex. A mix of medical, social, mental health, and behavioral therapies is needed. Setbacks are common. A stay at a rehab may be needed.


Natural Therapies

Some people look to natural treatments to help cope with withdrawal problems. They have not been shown to help on a consistent basis.

May or May Not Be Effective

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.


Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk to your doctor about all herbs or pills you are taking. Some may get in the way of your treatment or other health problems you may have.

References [ + ]


A1. Bearn J, Swami A, Stewart D, et al. Auricular acupuncture as an adjunct to opiate detoxification treatment: Effects on withdrawal symptoms. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2009 Apr;36(3):345-349.

A2. Chan YY, Lo WY. Clinical efficacy of acupuncture as an adjunct to methadone treatment services for heroin addicts: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Chin Med. 2014;42(3):569-586.

A3. Chang BH, Sommers E. Acupuncture and relaxation response for craving and anxiety reduction among military veterans in recovery from substance abuse disorder. Am J Addict. 2014 Mar-Apr;23(2):129-136.

A4. Ahlberg R, Skarberg K, et al. Auricular acupuncture for substance use: a randomized controlled trial of effects on anxiety, sleep, drug use and use of addiction treatment services. Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy. 2016 Jul 25;11(1):24.

A5. Margolin A, Kleber HD, Avants SK, et al. Acupuncture for the treatment of cocaine addiction: a randomized controlled trial.JAMA. 2002;287:55-57.


B1. Duailibi MS, Cordeiro Q, et al. N-acetylcysteine in the treatment of craving in substance use disorder: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Addict. 2017 Oct;26(7):660-666.

Last reviewed March 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Richard Glickman-Simon, MD
Last Updated: 3/2/2019

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