Qigong Therapy for Treating Cocaine Addiction
This is a double-blinded randomized placebo control trial to investigate the clinical effectiveness of external Qigong therapy (EQT) in reducing cue-elicited craving and improving treatment outcome among withdrawn cocaine dependent patients.
The specific aims of the study include: (1) To examine the effectiveness of Qigong therapy for reducing cue-elicited cocaine craving in acutely abstinent cocaine dependent subjects. (2) To investigate the effect of Qigong therapy for improving treatment outcome upon a six-week follow-up among cocaine addicts. (3) To test suggestibility as a predictor of effectiveness of Qigong therapy and whether it is a confounder in Qigong treatment effects, such that the therapy might be effective only among more suggestible subjects. These aims will be achieved through a placebo-controlled clinical trial of 60 cocaine addicts, randomly assigned to either a Qigong treated group or a sham treated control group. Qigong treatment consists of "Qi emission" by the Qigong healer toward the head area for 10 minutes each session, for a total of 6 sessions over 2 weeks.
The primary assessments for craving include a self-report, within-session craving scale as well as physiological recording of skin temperature, skin conductance, electrocardiogram, and heart rate during the cue-exposure procedure. Other measures for assessing the effectiveness of the intervention include the Addiction Severity Index, urine toxicology screenings, and Stanford Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility form C. Differences in the degree of craving reduction between the treatment groups will be assessed with t tests. ANCOVA and repeated-measure analysis of variance will be used to examine changes in reduction of craving and ASI composite scores for difference problems. ANCOVA may also be applied to compare the differences between the Qigong and the sham groups to eliminate potential placebo effects, with control for demographics, addiction history, attitudinal variables, suggestibility and other potential confounders.
A 6-week follow-up evaluation with the ASI will be completed to examine the longitudinal treatment effects of Qigong for increasing sobriety. This pilot study will help to collect additional data on the benefits of Qigong for reducing craving in preparation for an R01 application to test the longer term effects of Qigong on reducing cue-elicited craving and increasing sobriety among individuals with cocaine dependence.