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Groundbreaking Melbourne study finds brain training may hold the key to beating ice addiction

Brain training, which replaces subconscious thoughts of drugs with thoughts of something positive, shows promising signs for treating methamphetamine addiction.

In world-first study, Melbourne researchers found brain training could double the likelihood of an addicted person being able to kick the habit.

In a small trial of the new method, 54 per cent of participants had avoided a relapse into methamphetamine use three months after receiving brain training.

The training involves showing pictures of healthy images such as fruit and vegetables, and images of harmful drugs to drug addicts.

Participants use a joystick to shrink the size of the harmful images and expand the size of the healthy pictures.

Turning Point’s Associate Professor Victoria Manning said the treatment differs from other addiction treatments because it targets subconscious processes, rather than conscious ones.

“It’s thought that, over time, we become sensitised to cues in the environment that become paired or associated with the pleasurable effects of using drugs, and these become very easily activated, or rapidly activated, and this induces a level of craving which then leads to use,” she told 3AW’s Ross and John.

“This form of brain training really targets the processing that happens at a more subconscious level.”

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