As it stands right now, there aren’t any medications on the market for meth addiction. There aren’t treatments approved explicitly for that purpose. That doesn’t mean that medication treatment doesn’t work.
Some treatments that are already available might actually have an effect. These treatments could change the lives of people addicted to methamphetamines.
What Does It Do
Apparently, scientists might have discovered something useful. This would be in relation to the brain and meth use. The euphoric rush of meth is because it causes the body to release 10 times its normal amount of dopamine.
Dopamine is the body’s chemical of pleasure. It is the reason that drugs are so addictive because it often affects these chemicals.
In research on mice, it was shown how some medications could stop that effect. They were unable to feel the euphoria that makes this drug so addictive.
How Does It Do It
A team found that in mice, a low dose of a Sigma-1 receptor agonist medication could cut those signals off. It would block the increased dopamine caused by the using of meth. That was a crazy discovery to have. It can be hard for people to recover from meth use because of the intense pleasure it causes.
They found that the Sigma-1 receptor is affected by meth, which is why they targeted it. It is also part of many different common uses of drugs. Drugs such as antihistamines and antidepressants.
Researches compared the effect of the sigma-1 receptor to that of naloxone. Naloxone is a treatment for opiate addiction where it blocks the effects. The key difference is that the sigma-1 receptor would have to be taken before meth use. Naloxone is used for after opioid use.
The use of the sigma-1 receptor would most help those trying to recover from addiction. This is because it cannot be applied afterward. Instead, they would have to use it as a prevention method.
Dopamine Is The Reason Why
As stated earlier, methamphetamines are so dangerous because of the increase in dopamine levels. Such a high increase in dopamine levels makes it really hard to give up. It can be an addictive feeling that matches no other.
The dopamine rush from meth is actually much longer than the one caused by cocaine use. Cocaine lasts from 10-30 minutes. Meth can last upwards of ten hours. That is a very long high and it is no wonder meth is so addictive.
Funding for the research of using medication to treat meth use has been hard to come by. This is because people aren’t eager for that sort of treatment. There is a weird stigma on using drugs to manage drug use.
People believe that it is replacing one crutch with something else. That is not the case. Proper treatment is managing the addiction and helping save your health.
“Harm-reduction” isn’t really what the National Institute on Drug Abuse is looking to achieve. But that is something they might have to settle for if they want to save lives.