Methamphetamine or meth, a Schedule II drug, is associated with a high degree of physiological and psychological dependence. Considering its highly addictive properties, researchers across the globe are striving hard to find ways to overcome its addiction. One such study looked into the impact of medications like Prozac in progressively decreasing the reward effects of meth on the brain.
The study, published in the journal Nature Communications in December 2017, was based on the premise that when the brain does not sense the reward, the chances of a person abusing the drug decreases substantially. The impact of methamphetamine on the reward centers of the brain is similar to the kind of effect produced when a person eats food or chocolate or has sex. All these activities engage the pleasure centers of the brain and the person feels a rush of dopamine.
However, while the surge of dopamine and feel-good hormones is natural when one has food or engages in sex, it is not quite so when a person has drugs. The dopamine rush in this case is artificially induced, which means that with time, the individual would require more of the drug to feel the same level of euphoria.
Sigma-1 receptor to help beat meth addiction
The researchers from the University of Florida (UF) claimed to have unearthed a unique way to prevent meth from producing its rewarding effects on the brain. According to lead author Habibeh Khoshbouei, an associate professor of neuroscience and psychiatry at the UF, sigma-1 receptor agonists like the antidepressants fluvoxamine and antihistamine dextromethorphan can help treat meth addiction. These drugs belong to the category of drugs that have already been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for other conditions.
Currently there are no medications, approved by the FDA, that can provide relief to people addicted to meth. However, in this study, the researchers claimed that mice, who were on low dosages of sigma-1 receptor agonist like antidepressant Prozac (as underlined earlier) were able to stop or suppress the dopamine neurons, which were expected to go in an overdrive when the mice were fed meth. While the current trials were carried out on rodents, the next phase of trials is expected to be carried out on humans.
Another interesting observation was related to the use of opioid antidote naloxone. The researchers drew similarities with the use of sigma-1 receptor agonist for meth treatment and naloxone for blocking the impact of opioids, with the exception that this would not be helpful in reversing the impact.
Waging war against meth abuse
Crystal meth, ice, glass or crystal methamphetamine is one of the most popular party drug. It is also one of the most addictive drugs available in the market today. It is not only popular among the users, but also among dealers as one can easily produce it from within the confines of his/her bathroom or car.
However, with President Donald Trump declaring a war against drugs and against opioids in particular, there was a lull in its production, preempted possibly by the crackdown of meth labs by the law enforcement agencies across the country.
Unfortunately, if the latest reports are to be believed, meth has once again gained popularity and is fast climbing the ranks of preferred drugs. All the efforts of law enforcement agencies have come to a naught, as drug traffickers have given a twist to the trade by using means like narcotic vessels/subs afloat at sea and drones for selling their wares.
Dealing with meth addiction
If you have a loved one grappling with an addiction to meth or any other substance, encourage him/her to seek immediate assistance from credible meth addiction treatment centers in California.
Based out of San Clemente, Sovereign Health is the leading substance abuse treatment provider with state-of-the-art facilities. Call at our 24/7 helpline number or chat online with our representatives for more information about our evidence-based treatment for meth addiction in California.