Cognitive Bias Modification - Methamphetamine

The methamphetamine approach-avoidance training (MAAT) trial.


Relapse after methamphetamine rehabilitation treatment is common. A possible reason for this is that people with methamphetamine use disorder develop “approach bias”, an automatic, impulsive tendency to approach or seek methamphetamine in response to signals in the environment (e.g., images, smells, etc.) that have become strongly associated with methamphetamine. Earlier research on alcohol dependence has shown that computerised approach bias modification (ABM) training can help reduce the likelihood of relapse after people leave treatment. In an earlier pilot study, we had promising findings suggesting that ABM might help in reducing relapse to methamphetamine following discharge from treatment. We are now running a randomised controlled trial of ABM during methamphetamine treatment at 3 rehabilitation services: Albert Road Clinic, Malvern Private Hospital, and Wellington House to determine its effectiveness.

The methamphetamine approach-avoidance training (MAAT) trial tests whether 6 sessions of “brain-training”, delivered while clients are attending residential rehabilitation treatment, helps reduce cravings and prevent relapse after they leave the rehabilitation service. The ABM training involves repeatedly practising the avoidance of methamphetamine images displayed on a laptop and the approaching of positive images. We are using a randomised controlled trial (RCT) to compare the effectiveness of the ABM training task, to another similar task that does not alter approach bias.

Project team

Turning Point team

Professor Victoria Manning, Dr Joshua Garfield, Professor Dan Lubman, Dr Shalini Arunogiri, Mr Hugh Piercy, Mr Sam Campbell, Dr Paul Sanfilippo, Ms Kristina Vujcic, and Ms Katherine Mroz.

Project partners

Mr Jeff Gavin (Association of Participating Service Users, Self-Help Addiction Resource Centre), Professor Malcolm Hopwood (Albert Road Clinic, Melbourne University), Dr Eli Kotler (Malvern Private Hospital), Ms Suzanne George (Malvern Private Hospital), and Dr Adegoke Okedara (Albert Road Clinic).

Participating sites

Turning Point Addiction Medicine Unit, and the Malvern Private and Albert Road Clinic.

Our funder

National Centre Clinical Research Emerging Drugs (NCCRED; project number NCR2SF10)

Learn more about this project

Pilot projects:


This trial has been registered by the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR).

Other resources: