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Rationale for Using Exercise in the Treatment of Stimulant Use Disorders. Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice


Journal Article

Greer, T.L.; Ring, K.M.; Warden, D.; Grannemann, B.D.; Church, T.S.; Somoza, E.; Blair, S.N.; Szapocznik, J.; Stoutenberg, M.; Rethorst, C.; Walker, R.; Morris, D.W.; Kosinski, A.S.; Kyle, T.; Marcus, B.; Crowell, B.; Oden, N.; Nunes, E.V.

J Drug Policy & Prac




behavioral intervention; Community health services; Craving; CTN protocol development; Exercise; health education; Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice; Stimulant abuse; stimulant dependence

Novel approaches to the treatment of stimulant abuse and dependence are needed. Clinical data examining the use of exercise as a treatment for the abuse of nicotine, alcohol, and other substances suggest that exercise may be a beneficial treatment for stimulant abuse. In addition, exercise has been associated with improvements in many other health-related areas that may be adversely affected by stimulant use or its treatment, such as sleep disturbance, cognitive function, mood, weight, quality of life, and anhedonia. Neurobiological evidence provides plausible mechanisms by which exercise could positively affect treatment outcomes in stimulant abuse. National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network protocol CTN-0037, Stimulant Reduction Intervention using Dosed Exercise (STRIDE), is a multisite randomized clinical trial that compares exercise to health education as potential treatments for stimulant abuse or dependence. If exercise were to have an impact on acute and longer-term outcomes when added to usual substance abuse treatment, this would be of substantial public health importance. Exercise has limited side effects compared with medications, is not likely to interact with concurrent pharmacotherapy, is lower in cost, can be performed at home, can be continued indefinitely if effective in diverting relapse, and may be useful with vulnerable populations such as pregnant women. Exercise may also improve overall health and functional status, and reduce the cost burden associated with substance use disorders.

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