People addicted to methamphetamine may be helped by exercise along with addiction counseling, a new small study suggests. The researchers report exercise increased the number of dopamine receptors in the brain, which can lower the desire for the drug.
Using methamphetamine causes a release of dopamine, a substance in the brain that provides sensations of pleasure and satisfaction. It also causes methamphetamine’s high. Repeated meth use causes the number of dopamine receptors to decrease.
As a person recovers from meth addiction, the number of dopamine receptors increase over time, but the recovery rate varies widely. Other studies have suggested chronic use of meth can cause long-term problems in brain function that can affect a person’s self-control and judgment, the researchers said.