Author(s): Meredith CW, Jaffe C, AngLee K, Saxon AJ
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Abstract Methamphetamine (MA) abuse is increasing to epidemic proportions, both nationally and globally. Chronic MA use has been linked to significant impairments in different arenas of neuropsychological function. To better understand this issue, a computerized literature search (PubMed, 1964-2004) was used to collect research studies examining the neurobiological and neuropsychiatric consequences of chronic MA use. Availability of MA has markedly increased in the United States due to recent technological improvements in both mass production and clandestine synthesis, leading to significant public health, legal, and environmental problems. MA intoxication has been associated with significant psychiatric and medical comorbidity. Research in animal models and human subjects reveals complicated mechanisms of neurotoxicity by which chronic MA use affects catecholamine neurotransmission. This pathology may underlie the characteristic cognitive deficits that plague chronic MA users, who experience impairments in memory and learning, psychomotor speed, and information processing. These impairments have the potential to compromise, in turn, the ability of MA abusers to engage in, and benefit from, psychosocially based chemical-dependency treatment. Development of pharmacological interventions to improve these cognitive impairments in this population may significantly improve the degree to which they may be able to participate in treatment. Atypical antipsychotics may have some promise in this regard.
This article was published in Harv Rev Psychiatry
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy