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Alcohol-related disorders (ARDs) have become an increasing mental health and social challenge in China. Research from China may provide important clinical information for researchers and clinicians around the world. However, most of the Chinese research on ARDs has only been published in Chinese language journals. This article summarizes publications related to treatments for ARDs found in the Chinese literature. A descriptive study based on literature identified from searches of the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (1979-2012), Pubmed databases and hand-picked references with emphasis on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). More than 1500 Chinese language papers on treatment for ARDs were found and ~110 were selected. Many medications used in the Western countries (e.g. disulfiram and acamprosate) are not available in China, and no drugs have been officially approved for alcohol dependence. TCM approaches (including acupuncture, electroacupunture and herbals) have played a role in treatment for ARDs with some positive results. These unique methods are reviewed and the need for additional controlled studies is noted. Currently, very limited facilities, medications or programs are available for patients with ARDs in China, thus much improvement is needed in the field, including setting up intervention/treatment programs.


Yi-Lang Tang, Wei Hao, Lorenzo Leggio. Treatments for alcohol-related disorders in China: a developing story. Alcohol and alcoholism (Oxford, Oxfordshire). 2012 Sep-Oct;47(5):563-70

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PMID: 22683652

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