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Sleep ameliorating effects of acupuncture in a psychiatric population



The interest of psychiatric patients for complementary medicine, such as acupuncture, is stable, but effect studies in psychiatry remain scarce. In this pilot study, the effects of 3 months of acupuncture treatment on sleep were evaluated and compared between a group of patients with schizophrenia (n = 16) and a group with depression (n = 16). Healthy controls were included in order to establish reference values (n = 8). Patients with schizophrenia and depression were randomly assigned to either a waiting list or a treatment condition. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Inventory was completed before and after the acupuncture treatment (individualized and according to traditional Chinese medicine principles) or the waiting list condition. Both acupuncture groups showed significant lower scores on the sleep inventory, which was not the case for the waiting list condition. Moreover, it was found that the effectiveness of the acupuncture treatment was higher in the patients with schizophrenia than in the patients with depression. Acupuncture seems able to improve sleep in this convenient sample of patients with long-lasting psychiatric problems and may be a suitable and cost-effective add-on treatment for this group, particularly if conducted group-wise.

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