Four-week Tai Chi intervention decreases attention bias to drug cues in individuals with methamphetamine use disorder

Author: Meiheng He1,2, Suyong Yang1, Yue Miao1, Weikun Zhang1, Dong Zhu3, Ding Xu4
1 School of Psychology, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai, China.
2 School of Psychology, South China Normal University, Guangzhou, China.
3 School of International Education, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai, China.
4 Shanghai Bureau of Drug Rehabilitation Administration, Shanghai, China.
Conference/Journal: Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse
Date published: 2021 Jul 30
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1080/00952990.2021.1950745. , Word Count: 258

Background: Mind-body exercise is used for the rehabilitation of individuals with methamphetamine use disorder (MUD). Attention bias to substances is an important index of MUD. However, whether a mind-body exercise intervention can decrease attention bias is unclear.Objective: This study aimed to test the effect of a four-week Tai Chi (a Chinese traditional mind-body exercise) exercise program on the attention bias of individuals with MUD.Methods: Thirty-two men with MUD and without Tai Chi practice experience were recruited and randomly assigned to either a Tai Chi exercise group or a control group. The Tai Chi group received four-week Tai Chi training, while the control group engaged in daily exercise (including radio gymnastics and Jianxincao, two kinds of free-hand exercises). During a drug-related Stroop task, participants were instructed to respond to the color of the word ignoring the word type (drug-related or neutral words). The reaction time and d' (the index of sensitivity) were measured.Results: The participants showed attention bias to substance cues; the reaction time was slower for drug-related words than for neutral words (p < .05). After the Tai Chi intervention, the Tai Chi group showed a faster reaction time (ps < .05) and a smaller d' (ps < .05) than the baseline across all the word types. In contrast, the control group showed no differences (ps > .05).Conclusion: Four-week Tai Chi intervention reduced sensitivity and attentional bias to drug-related cues in individuals with MUD, suggesting that mind-body exercise might enhance recovery from MUD via attention control.

Keywords: Methamphetamine; Tai Chi; attention bias; intervention; substance use disorder.

PMID: 34325579 DOI: 10.1080/00952990.2021.1950745