Effectiveness of two residential treatment programs for methamphetamine users
Methamphetamine use continues to rise and has expanded to a global health threat, resulting in a higher demand for treatment options for methamphetamine users. However, only limited research has been done investigating treatment programs for this group of substance users. This study therefore aims to evaluate the efficacy of two residential treatment programs for methamphetamine users.
A total of 108 patients with a history of methamphetamine use from two German inpatient rehabilitation centers were recruited for measuring psychiatric symptoms, craving, psychosocial resources, and cognitive functioning at the start, at the end and 12 months after treatment using interviews, self-questionnaires, and computer tests. Patients from one center (“Matrix treatment”) received conventional group therapy plus an additional 10 hours of group therapy focusing on stimulant use. The patients from the other center (“treatment as usual”) received conventional group therapy only. Drop-out rates over the three time points and predictors of drop-out were estimated and secondary outcome measures were compared between centers over time.
A drop-out rate of 40.7% was observed from start to end of treatment, with similar drop-out rates between the centers. History of injection drug use was a significant predictor for drop-out during treatment. Irrespective of treatment program, craving and psychiatric symptoms significantly decreased while psychosocial resources, processing speed, and cognitive flexibility improved over six month treatment. Effects on cognitive functioning were ambiguous. Data of 12-month follow ups will be available in July 2019.
Both treatment programs were found to reduce psychiatric symptoms and craving over six months. The addition of Matrix groups did not have a significant impact on short term outcome when comparing to a treatment center with a high rate on regular group therapy. History of injection drug use significantly predicted treatment drop-out. Changes in cognitive functioning need to be further explored. Long-term effects have yet to be proven.