HEALTH

Jet Lag And Methamphetamine Addiction Feel Surprisingly Similar

Now meth addiction is to be trialed with the jet lag staples of exercise and sleep.

03/11/2016 9:36 AM AEDT | Updated 03/11/2016 11:45 AM AEDT
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Jet lag and meth addiction both create similar feeligns.

Jet lag feels rotten -- you're exhausted, deluded and achy but when you try to sleep, you realise you're also wired.

This can also the experience for methamphetamine addicts and University of Queensland researchers are looking at using some tried and tested jet lag remedies to develop ways to assist people quitting meth -- with surprising results.

School of Biomedical Sciences researcher Oliver Rawashdeh said the sleep cycles of a meth user were disrupted, which made a craving for the drug stronger.

"Methamphetamine users have highly disrupted circadian rhythms, particularly the body's 24-hour sleep/wake pattern," Rawashdeh said.

"Without stable and synchronised sleep rhythms, users suffer from disturbances in mood and depression, a key reason we believe they become addicted and relapse after treatment."

Maskot
Exercise can give your body a high.

That's where exercise comes in. Rawashdeh said physical activity was akin to the stimulation of a drug high so while still taking a small amount of methamphetamine, participants also had set exercise targets.

"Exercise targets the same reward centre in the brain as the drug so we paired the two together," he said.

"By doing this the brain is able to transfer the euphoric characteristics associated with the drug to a healthy stimulus -- exercise -- according to the principles of classical conditioning.

"It took just two weeks to regenerate a stable sleep/wake rhythm in animal models, and the pattern continued when the drug was stopped."

Crucially this study was done in animal models, but Rawashdeh said it could be replicated in humans.

"Our results show it is possible to reinstate a rhythm, and if this can eventually be replicated in people it may accelerate the effectiveness of drug rehabilitation programs and reduce the likelihood of relapse."

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