Research Finds Heart Damage Caused By Meth Addiction May Be Reversed With Rehab + Medical Treatment

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Research Finds Heart Damage Caused By Meth Addiction May Be Reversed With Rehab + Medical Treatment

According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, heart damage resulting from methamphetamine addiction may be reversed when rehab is combined with medical treatment. The research also stressed that rehabilitation from methamphetamine use may prevent future negative outcomes such as heart failure and death.

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug, and cessation can result in withdrawal symptoms including fatigue, depression, anxiety, cravings, and even psychosis. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in 2014 about 569,000 persons in the U.S. age 12 or older reported meth use in the past month.

For the study, 30 subjects who were meth users were examined and evaluated based on improvements associated with heart performance after cessation from drug use. The average age of participants was 30 and overwhelmingly male (93%.) All exhibited a left ventricle ejection fraction of under 40%, an indication of heart failure.

Meth addiction and use is a common factor in problems related to heart conditions and fatalities. Researchers noted that while there are medical treatments applicable to such heart conditions, little has been known about outcomes resulting from the cessation of meth use and treatment to reverse heart damage.

Of those studied, more than 83% revealed related symptoms and strenuous patterns of breathing, while about one-third developed blood clots. Each subject was administered treatment, which included supportive measures in medical treatment such as a wearable or implantable defibrillator.

Results revealed that these therapies led to the improvement of cardiac performance and a reduction in symptoms associated with heart damage in those who stopped meth use. Also, when compared to those who continued meth use while being treated medically, subjects who quit using the drug decreased their risk of earlier death, hospitalization for associated issues, and non-fatal strokes by 57%, versus 13%.

These findings indicate that cessation of meth use in addition to medical treatment for heart failure can reverse heart damage and result in improved outcomes for these persons.

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology


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