Advances in Treating Meth Psychosis
Many medical and treatment
personnel are familiar with Meth induced psychosis. It often
resolves spontaneously when patients become abstinent, but over
25% of patients have psychotic symptoms lasting more than 6
months. Those symptoms may resemble primary psychotic disorders but the
standard treatment falls short.
A study in the American Journal of Psychiatry [Jan. 2010] examines a
clinical case where a patient suffering long-term Meth psychosis found no
relief with antipsychotic medication but responded quickly to
electroconvulsive therapy - also known as ECT or Shock Treatment.
View the abstract of the article here
Alters Dopamine System; May Make Addiction Harder to Beat
Researchers at the
University of Washington found that animal studies show Methamphetamine
use causes lasting changes in the brain's dopamine system, making it
especially difficult for users to stop using the drug. According to their
results, long-term Meth use depressed the dopamine-release system in the
brain. Researchers say Meth appears to cause long-term changes in certain
dopamine receptors and with a specific neurotransmitter. They hope to use
the findings to better explore and understand the unique properties of
The research was supported by several grants, including two from the
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the
National Institutes of Health, as well as the Seattle Children's Hospital
and the Center for Human Development and Disability at the UW. The project
included researchers with Columbia University, the New York State
Psychiatric Institute, and the University of California at Los Angeles.
The findings were published in the April 10, 2008 issue of the journal
Neuron. You may access the full article, with an explanation of
procedures and references,
A general interest,
non-technical article highlighting the study was published online by
Science Daily Ė you may access that piece
Antidepressant Use May
Thwart Meth Recovery
NIDA Notes Volume 21, Number 5 March 2008
In a recent NIDA-funded
study, the antidepressant sertraline (Zoloft) made quitting
Methamphetamine harder. Prescribed to relieve depression during the Meth
withdrawal process, sertraline produced a number of unpleasant side
effects and may have interfered with behavioral interventions as well.
UCLA found that treatment with sertraline did not relieve the depression
associated with Meth withdrawal or decrease the drugís use, and its side
effects reduced the amount of time participants spent in treatment. Those
who took sertraline also seemed to benefit less from behavioral
interventions, and the researchers speculated that this might be due to
the dampening effect of the medication since they had excluded all other
possible factors in the statistical analysis.
professionals and researchers continue to search for ways to help Meth
abusers and addicts cope with the powerful withdrawal symptoms.
NIDA Notes article online
of the original study (Shoptaw, S., et al. Randomized, placebo-controlled
trial of sertraline and contingency management for the treatment of
methamphetamine dependence. Drug and Alcohol Dependence
Track Approved for
May Help Fight Meth Dependence
anticonvulsive drug marketed by Ovation Pharmaceuticals, has been
'fast-tracked' by the Food and Drug Administration and could become the
first drug approved by the agency as a treatment for cocaine and
Methamphetamine dependence. The anticonvulsant drug is believed to block
the craving and euphoria associated with cocaine and Meth use.
News Release from Ovation
How Meth Damages Userís Heart, Blood Vessels
Forbes Magazine online edition outlines results from research into how
prolonged Meth use leads to cardiovascular problems. While information
about Methís impact on the brain is well documented, the drugís effect on
the cardiovascular system is not as well known. In this study,
involving the behavioral and chemical changes in rats allowed to
researchers found that Meth starts an unnatural chemical reaction that
leads to a protein change in the userís body, creating compounds that have
been tied to a variety of diseases, including Alzheimer's and diabetes.
That change creates both an antibody and inflammation response. According
to the lead researcher, Kim Janda from the Scripps Research Institute in
California, the reaction can cause both heart and blood vessel damage.
Some of the problems triggered by this interaction include arrhythmias,
intracranial bleeding, and congestive heart failure. Janda adds that this
change in a userís system may also be the clue to why they continue to
increase the amount of Meth they take, explaining that the antibody
response takes the Meth out of cells, leading to the desire for more of
the drug to regain the high.
Abstract as published by
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/25/07
Self-vaccination by methamphetamine glycation products
chemically links chronic drug abuse and cardiovascular disease
Authors: Jennifer Treweek, Sunmee Wee, George F. Koob, Tobin J.
Dickerson, and Kim D. Janda
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, June 25,