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Hope for 'meth' addiction?

Vol. 4, No. 12 / December 2005

" 'No energy, no hope,' and no clear diagnosis ," by Drs. Jaesu Han and Mary Ann Barnovitz ( Current Psychiatry , October 2005) offers an interesting and relevant description of one patient's struggle with chronic amphetamine use.

Dr. Han mentioned that no specific, well-established treatments exist for methamphetamine dependence. However, the matrix model—a comprehensive, vigorous, and well-studied approach—encompasses the treatments mentioned as well as other methods.

Developed to treat cocaine dependence in the 1980s, the matrix model is a 16-week program that comprises individual and group sessions, addresses relapse prevention, offers family psychoeducation, and promotes 12-step therapy. Matrix model therapy recognizes how a patient's methamphetamine dependence can affect his or her family—something a 12-step program alone cannot address. 1 - 3

Matrix model therapy is the only program with evidence of effectiveness for treating methamphetamine dependence and is supported by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Other methamphetamine dependence treatments are in the pipeline. Researchers are studying use of existing medications—such as gamma-vinyl GABA, modafinil, selegiline, bupropion, and odansetron—and developing monoclonal antibodies to methamphetamine. 1 , 3

Adegboyega Oyemade, MDChief resident, department of psychiatry,Albany Medical Center, Albany, NY

Minesh Patel, MDFellow in child and adolescent psychiatryNew York Medical CollegeWestchester Medical CenterValhalla, NY


1. Volkow ND. Methamphetamine abuse. Testimony before U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations. Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, April 21, 2005. Available at: . Accessed Oct. 28, 2005.

2. Methamphetamine treatment: the matrix model. Addiction Messenger. Northwest Frontier Addiction Technology Transfer Center 2002;5(2):1-3.Available at: . Accessed Oct. 31, 2005.

3. Sommerfield J. Beating an addiction to meth. Researchers zero in on brain effects, treatment approaches. Available at: . Accessed Oct. 31, 2005.

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