Opiate addiction is a serious and complex issue that affects millions of people worldwide. Traditional treatment methods, such as medication-assisted therapy and counseling, have proven to be effective in managing withdrawal symptoms and reducing cravings. However, there is growing interest in alternative therapies, such as Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), as a potential adjunctive treatment for opiate addiction. But can HBOT really help with opiate addiction and withdrawal?
Let's explore the scientific literature and popular press to find out.
Scientific Evidence and Literature
While there is limited research specifically focused on HBOT for opiate addiction, some studies suggest that it may have potential benefits. A study published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation found that HBOT reduced withdrawal symptoms and cravings in rats addicted to morphine. Another study published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine reported that HBOT improved cognitive function and reduced anxiety in individuals undergoing opiate withdrawal. In Russian, they have been using HBOT for decades in opiate addiction, although this literature is not readily available or not translated from Russia.
Another study called: "Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Pain, Opioid Withdrawal, and Related Symptoms: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial" showed that just one HBOT treatment at 2.0 ATA. Measures included study retention, treatment satisfaction, and pre- and post-intervention effects for opioid withdrawal symptoms, drug cravings, pain intensity and interference, sleep quality, and mood all improved in the HBOT-treated group.
Popular Press Examples
Although scientific literature on HBOT and opiate addiction is still emerging, there have been some notable examples in the popular press. In a feature article by The New York Times, a woman shared her experience with HBOT as part of her recovery from opiate addiction. She described feeling a sense of calmness and improved well-being after each session, which she believed helped her stay focused on her recovery journey.
Similarly, a news segment on ABC News highlighted the story of a man who successfully overcame his opiate addiction with the help of HBOT. He credited the therapy for reducing his withdrawal symptoms and cravings, allowing him to break free from the cycle of addiction.
While the scientific evidence on HBOT for opiate addiction is still limited, there are promising findings that suggest it may have potential benefits. However, it is important to note that HBOT should not be considered a standalone treatment for opiate addiction. It should be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes medication-assisted therapy, counseling, and other evidence-based interventions.
1. Zhang, Y., Zhang, Y., Wang, L., Song, C., Zhang, H., Wu, H., ... & Zhang, J. (2019). Hyperbaric oxygen therapy ameliorates withdrawal symptoms of morphine-addicted rats by regulating the expression of inflammatory cytokines and neurotrophic factors. Journal of Neuroinflammation, 16(1), 1-14.
2. Wilson M, Bindler RJ, Stanek K, Layton ME, Quock RM. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Pain, Opioid Withdrawal, and Related Symptoms: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. Pain Manag Nurs. 2022 Oct;23(5):616-624. doi: 10.1016/j.pmn.2022.03.001. Epub 2022 Apr 4. PMID: 35393218.