In Dallas, Texas, researchers concerned about the 1 .9 million Americans with bipolar disorder are investigating a new use for an old therapy - acupuncture. Because the need for new treatments for bipolar disorder are critical, Dr. Trida Suppes, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, currently is enrolling patients ages 1 8 to 65, who are in the depressed stage of bipolar disorder.
The study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, is the first to evaluate acupuncture as an adjunct to medication for treatment of bipolar disorder, although an earlier published study at the University of Arizona College of Medicine reported positive results on the use of acupuncture as a treatment for major depression. Suppes wants to learn whether supplementing bipolar disorder patients' medication with acupuncture will allow some patients to reduce their medication.
The study will involve 30 male and female patients randomly divided into two groups. Some patients will received acupuncture directed toward treating depressive symptoms, while others will receive nonspecific acupuncture, which treats certain physical complaints. Patients will continue taking their regular medications during the trial and will not know which type of acupuncture they are receiving. All patients will be treated for 8 weeks. At the conclusion of the trial, the patients receiving nonspecific acupuncture will be offered acupuncture directed toward treating depression.
For more information about the study, call the Bipolar Disorder Clinic and Research Program at (214) 648-7474.