Research into methamphetamine and mental health

Posted on: Thursday, 21 May 2015

A new Turning Point project will investigate how methamphetamine use affects the brain and its impact on mental health problems.

Associate Investigator Dr Shalini Arunogiri said researchers were inviting people who use methamphetamine to be part of the project and examine how their use had affected their thinking, memory and learning capacity.

Dr Arunogiri said previous research had shown an established link between the use of methamphetamine and other stimulant drugs with the development of mental health problems.

She said in some people methamphetamine use can lead to psychosis, a mental health problem characterised by changes in thinking, feeling and behaviour, and a loss of touch with reality.

However, experts still do not know why some individuals who use methamphetamines develop psychosis, but others do not.

“This study is aimed at understanding the links between methamphetamine use and mental health problems better,” Dr Arunogiri said. “We are interested in investigating the characteristics that may be associated with a higher risk of developing psychosis.”

Researchers plan to study these links through interviews, tests of thinking and memory and genetic analysis via saliva samples from project participants.

Dr Arunogiri said understanding these links will assist researchers in better identifying who is most at risk from experiencing problems if they use methamphetamines.

“It will also contribute to planning of treatments and interventions for individuals who may be at risk of developing these problems.”

People who use methamphetamine that are interested in participating in the study can call 0405 915 995 or email Saru6@student.monash.edu for more information.