Amphetamine use, and the use of similar drugs like methamphetamine, increase the risk for Parkinson’s disease later in life according to new research. Parkinson’s disease is a disorder related to dopamine in the brain, and previous animal studies have shown that amphetamines and related drugs cause damage to dopamine neurons, leading to many disorders including Parkinson’s. The research was jointly funded by NCI and the NIDA and it shows that the dopamine neurons in the brain play an important role in mental and physical health as we age. If the dopamine neurons are damaged then the brain does not have the right amount of this neurotransmitter and that can lead to disease and declining cognitive function. Avoiding drugs that cause damage to any of the neurotransmitter neurons in the brain can lead to future diseases and disorders.
Parkinson’s disease involves a number of factors, and the research showing amphetamine use increases the risk for this disorder is promising. Substance abuse of any type can have a profound impact on the way that the brain functions, and can also raise the risk for many diseases and disorders. If you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, or you know someone who does, getting treatment now can increase your odds of living a longer and healthier life. There are many programs to choose from, and some have high recovery rates due to proven treatment methods and a healing environment. If you have been treated in the past for substance abuse and you relapse then another round of treatment will be required.