Acute Exercise As Part of a Multidimensional Treatment for MA Addiction
Studies have demonstrated the benefits of exercise for treating depression and anxiety symptoms among adults with chronic methamphetamine (MA) abuse. Particularly, exercise has been found to reverse physiological and neurological damage caused by MA use, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as improve fitness levels and quality of life.
No matter the research, treating chronic MA-dependent individuals remains a difficult challenge. They require an interdisciplinary rehabilitation approach that includes physical and cognitive therapy as well as psychosocial interventions to promote overall health and wellness. Exercising may be one potential strategy to increase participation in treatment and reduce relapses.
Combining acute exercise with psychotherapy can improve session effectiveness and symptom change. The benefits of exercise are well documented, from increased mood and anhedonia to improved balance, motor function and flexibility. Acute exercise also has been proven to augment cognitive changes during CBT as well as increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) dose dependently. This could be explained by how exercising enhances the effectiveness of CBT by encouraging a working alliance formed during therapy.
A pilot study of post-traumatic stress disorder with exposure therapy and exercise showed greater improvements in symptoms for those who performed physical exercise prior to therapy. Furthermore, a feasibility trial in patients with diabetes and DEP demonstrated that group exercise before therapy was feasible and acceptable by participants.
Exercise can be used to supplement exposure therapy in panic disorders, such as agoraphobia. Three studies have reported the success of using PE with exposure sessions to increase extinction-based fear reduction; two of the studies administered PE before the exposure sessions; in a third instance, participants exercised during these same exposure sessions.
In general, former MA users require a multidimensional rehabilitation program that includes exercise to reverse physiological and neurological damage and enhance overall health and quality of life. Combining exercise, psychotherapy and other therapeutic interventions will result in successful recovery from MA-related conditions and successful reintegration into society.
Combining cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) with physical exercise has been shown to be effective for generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) in older adults. Unfortunately, age-related decline in cognitive function can negatively influence treatment effectiveness. Therefore, in this study a high-intensity exercise intervention was combined with conventional CBT for patients who had poor responses to conventional CBT.
This study is a prospective, randomised controlled trial with two treatment groups: CBT plus exercise and CBT with telephone call attention placebo (CBT + AP). Both groups receive CBT and exercise for 15 weeks; the first 5 weeks consist of an introductory exercise program to help with adjustment and neuromuscular facilitation.
The second 5 weeks are dedicated to an exercise programme with both supervised and individual sessions. Participants receive an exercise manual and must track their progress using an exercise journal. Exercises can be done on various equipment like bikes or treadmills, with varying intensities that aim to reach a good fitness level. The aim is that at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity be completed; no more than 10% absence is permitted from all training times.