Methamphetamine-Induced Wakefulness and Sleep Management: A Qualitative Analysis of Online Narratives


While much attention has been given to methamphetamine’s wake-promoting properties and the concept of using methamphetamine to increase energy, little is known about the ways people who use methamphetamine manage their use to pursue their functional goals or the challenges they encounter doing so. This qualitative study explores the experiences of people who used methamphetamine to manage wakefulness and reduce sleep as a means to achieve functional goals. We conducted a grounded theory analysis of 202 anonymous letters submitted to an online forum. Five themes emerged from this process: (1) Using methamphetamine to extend wakefulness and reduce the need for sleep; (2) Losing control over wakefulness and the need for sleep; (3) Managing wakefulness and the need for sleep while on methamphetamine; (4) Getting caught in a cycle of wakefulness and sleep; and (5) Sleep disruptions even after ceasing methamphetamine use. Participants believed methamphetamine was critical to meeting their functional goals, and they went to great lengths to try to manage the substance’s ill effects. Thus, clients in treatment for methamphetamine use disorder may benefit from interventions addressing their underlying motivations and perceived associations between methamphetamine and meeting functional goals.

Publication Title

Journal of Psychoactive Drugs