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Incentive-Based Therapy Works Best for Methamphetamine Abusers

 
  November, 13 2006 19:21
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New research suggests that offering methamphetamine abusers an incentive-based behavioral therapy program called contingency management (CM — also known as Motivational Incentives), along with psychosocial therapy is more effective than psychosocial therapy alone. The study was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, and is published in the November 2006 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

A CM program applies rules and consequences to help people change their behavior. In other words, participants are in treatment with contingencies, or rewards. In this case, the rules required production of drug-free urine samples. The rewards were plastic chips that could be exchanged for prizes. Other examples of CM awards might be raffle tickets, or small prizes that could be exchanged for a larger prize. The more the patient follows the rules, the more chips they earn. If the rules are not followed, they can lose chips.

Previous studies have shown the effectiveness of CM as a treatment for stimulant abuse (primarily cocaine). This most recent study suggests that CM can help methamphetamine abusers to stop or reduce their abuse of the drug for a longer time than individuals who receive the standard treatment as usual but do not receive such incentives, or rewards.


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