Effects of acute exercise on drug craving in adults

Researchers at Oslo University Hospital, SERAF and the Karolinska Institute have recently published an article on physical exercise as a part of drug treatment.

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The project is designed as a randomized controlled trial (RCT) and investigates whether individual sessions with physical training (football or circuit training) have short-term effects on drug craving for inpatient drug treatment patients.  

The study included 38 patients with poly-substance drug dependence in inpatient treatment wards. These were mainly men (84%) and had an average age of 37 years.

On different days of the week participants participated randomly in one of three 45-minute sessions: soccer, circuit training or a psychoeducation lecture.

Before and after each session, drug craving was measured through a visual analog scale (VAS), in addition to mood and a number of other variables. The follow-up lasted for 4 hours after the sessions.

The main findings from the study are that physical activity interventions, both soccer and circuit training, resulted in immediate reduced experiences of craving in the participants compared with the lecture (control intervention). This effect persisted with a gradual reduction over time (4 hours). 

Overall, the findings show that physical exercise can be integrated into inpatient drug treatment and that the effect of reduced substance abuse and better mood lasted for several hours. This indicates that exercise can be used as part of drug treatment to reduce the urge to take drugs and potentially reduce the incidence of relapse.

Read the article here

Published Sep. 30, 2021 10:13 AM - Last modified Sep. 30, 2021 10:13 AM