Recovery from Methamphetamine

Recovery from Methamphetamine

There are a number of things that can happen to an individual when they begin to use and then become hooked on methamphetamine. A recent study examined former methamphetamine users and their ability to maintain basic functions after giving up use of the drug.

Science Daily recently published a piece that shared the results of this study. One notable finding of this study included the fact that it takes at least a year for former methamphetamine users to regain impulse control. For many recovering abusers, it can take an extended period of time for the brain functions critical to recovery to improve.

“Recovery from meth abuse does not happen overnight,” said Ruth Salo, lead author of the study and a UC Davis assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, in Science Daily.

“It may take a year — or even longer — for cognitive processes such as impulse control and attentional focus to improve. Treatment programs need to consider this when monitoring recovering addicts’ progress during their early periods of abstinence.”

Salo’s study analyzed cognitive control in terms of the mount of time since the last methamphetamine was used and the total amount of time spent using the drug. Those who were recently abstinent showed significantly worse performance on the Stroop test than those who had been abstinent for at least one year.

At the same time, there appeared to be no statistical difference between test results for those abstinent at least one year and the non-drug using controls. Those methamphetamine users who had been long-term users produced worse test scores, whereas long-term abstinence was connected to improved test performance.

Salo noted that more research is necessary in order to determine exactly how the brain recovers from methamphetamine addiction and if behavioral treatments can hasten recovery.

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