, Volume 188, Issue 2, pp 162–170 | Cite as

Neuropsychological function and delay discounting in methamphetamine-dependent individuals

  • William F. HoffmanEmail author
  • Meredith Moore
  • Raymond Templin
  • Bentson McFarland
  • Robert J. Hitzemann
  • Suzanne H. Mitchell
Original Investigation



Methamphetamine (MA) dependence accounts for substantial neuropsychiatric morbidity. Furthermore, there is evidence in the literature of psychiatric and cognitive impairment in chronic users.


This report compares the general psychiatric and cognitive functioning, including impulsive decision-making, of individuals dependent on MA and normal controls.

Materials and methods

Forty-one currently abstinent individuals in treatment for MA dependence and 41 controls participated. Controls were selected to minimize group differences in age and gender. MA users met DSM-IV criteria for MA dependence, had average daily use of 0.5 g/day (0.5–6 g/day), had been abstinent at least 2 weeks (2–24 weeks), and did not currently meet criteria for other Axis I psychiatric disorders. Psychiatric symptoms were rated on standardized scales. Cognitive function was assessed with a battery of standardized neuropsychological tests. Impulsivity was assessed using a delay discounting task, which measured preference for small, immediate, and large delayed rewards.


The MA group reported more psychiatric symptoms than controls, and was impaired relative to controls on the Babcock Story Recall-Delayed and the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test. MA-dependent subjects discounted delayed rewards more than controls, and this measure of impulsivity was correlated with memory impairment in the MA group but not in the controls.


MA-dependent individuals are more impulsive than controls, and this may be causally related to memory deficits but was unrelated to any other measure of psychiatric or cognitive impairment or any drug use history variable.


Methamphetamine Impulsivity Delay discounting Memory 



The authors wish to acknowledge Aaron Janowsky, who provided helpful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript, William G. Guethlein, who wrote the computer program used to measure delay discounting, and Vanessa B. Wilson for help with data analysis. Data in this paper was previously presented in an invited lecture at Dopamine 2002, Portland, OR, July 10–14, 2002. The investigations reported in this manuscript fully comply with the current laws of the USA and the State of Oregon. This work was supported by the Medical Research Foundation of Oregon (WFH), NIH grants AA11034, MH51372, AA13454; and the VA Merit Review Program (RJH), NIH grants AA00281 (BM) and DA015543 (SHM).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • William F. Hoffman
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • Meredith Moore
    • 6
  • Raymond Templin
    • 2
  • Bentson McFarland
    • 5
    • 7
  • Robert J. Hitzemann
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Suzanne H. Mitchell
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Mental Health and Clinical Neurosciences Division and Methamphetamine Abuse Research Center P35CVeterans Affairs Medical CenterPortlandUSA
  2. 2.Mental Health and Clinical Neurosciences Division P35CVeterans Affairs Medical CenterPortlandUSA
  3. 3.Research Service Portland Veterans Affairs Medical CenterPortlandUSA
  4. 4.Department of Behavioral NeuroscienceOregon Health & Science UniversityPortlandUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychiatryOregon Health & Science UniversityPortlandUSA
  6. 6.School of NursingOregon Health & Science UniversityPortlandUSA
  7. 7.Kaiser Permanente Center for Health ResearchPortlandUSA

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