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Addiction Science: From Molecules to Managed Care

It takes time, but the brain can recover.

DAT Recovery with prolonged abstinence from methamphetamine

This image shows PET scans of dopamine transporter (DAT) binding in three brains: (1) a healthy control (top); (2) a methamphetamine abuser one month after discontinuing drug abuse (middle); and (3) a methamphetamine abuser after 14 months of abstinence (bottom). The control brain shows a robust concentration of dopamine transporters in the striatum (red and yellow), while the methamphetamine abuser has a dramatic drop in DAT binding, even a month after drug abuse has stopped. Sustained abstinence, however, allows a near-full return of DAT binding to normal levels. Still, some of the behavioral effects of methamphetamine do not completely return to normal (not shown). This means that it can take a long time to recover from methamphetamine abuse, but recovery is possible.

This page was last updated July 2008