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Treatment Options for Stimulant Use Disorder

Stimulant Use Disorder

Evidence-based therapy approaches proven to be successful in treating Stimulant Use Disorder

​There are still very few pharmaceutical options to block the effects of stimulants on the body. However, there are more and more therapy options showing encouraging results in treating addiction to stimulants such as crack cocaine and cocaine, methamphetamines, amphetamines and prescription stimulants. Follow the links for extensive information about each type of therapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): an individual or group therapy used at many outpatient and residential treatment programs where individuals learn to identify triggering thoughts and feelings which may have led them to use drugs problematically in the past; the individual learns to develop new coping strategies. This may involve learning new, constructive ways to deal with cravings, high-risk situations, and negative thoughts, which would otherwise lead them back to drug use.

Contingency Management (CM): therapeutic approach used in different types of treatment settings. In this approach, individuals get rewards for not using drugs. This is done to help them develop the skills they need and to deal with what triggers their drug use, especially in the early days of their recovery. Studies show that this is a feasible and promising treatment option. Contingency management (CM), is a type of behavioral therapy in which individuals are ‘reinforced’, or rewarded, for evidence of positive behavioral change. Based on the long withstanding psychological principle that rewarded behaviors are more likely to stick long-term, the CM approach has been successfully leveraged to reduce substance use. Contingency Management leverages positive reinforcements, triggering dopamine for as a reward for positive behaviors instead of those tied to addiction.

This Addiction Treatment Works. Why Is It So Underused” from the NY Times

“Contingency Management” from the Recovery Research Institute

Contingency Management: A Highly Effective Treatment For Substance Use Disorders And The Legal Barriers That Stand In Its Way“, Health Affairs Blog, March 11, 2020.DOI: 10.1377/hblog20200305.965186

There are three apps I am aware of, two I have personal experience with, that have been found to be helpful with contingency planning. Please see the following three resources for applications to be used on a cellular device.

1.) Founded in 2016, DynamiCare is a digital care program delivered through a smartphone app. We connect you with a personal Recovery Coach and celebrate small wins with immediate financial rewards that are proven to make healthy behaviors stick.

2.) AFFECT: REWARD YOUR RECOVERY: Affect is the first intensive, digital addiction recovery program to offer financial rewards as you succeed in treatment. Through our scientifically-proven approach, you can quit alcohol, meth, cocaine, or prescription stimulants (ADHD meds) and develop new habits to keep you healthy.

3.) WECONNECT HEALTH: At WEconnect, we followed the research and built our platform around the most effective standalone treatment technique for substance use disorder: Contingency Management. Pair that with the real-world expertise of our Peer Support Specialists, and you’re well on your way to meaningful behavioral change.

Harm Reduction Therapy: therapy option combining traditional psychotherapy with interventions that aim to reduce substance use and/or the problematic effects of dependence to substances. Focus may be placed on reduced use, moderation, reduced risky practices and/or abstinence.

Matrix Model Therapy: an abstinence-based therapy option which includes aspects of several different treatment approaches, including CBT, contingency management and 12-step programs, among others. It involves support, family education and individual counseling.

A 2-drug combo that may be effective in treating meth addiction

A two-drug combination may help treat addiction to meth, according to a study published in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine.



In your comments, please show respect for each other and do not give advice. Please consider that your choice of words has the power to reduce stigma and change opinions (ie, "person struggling with substance use" vs. "addict", "use" vs. "abuse"...)