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Why Is Cocaine Addictive?

There are many drugs – both legal and illegal – that are addictive, with some more so than others.

One of the most addictive drugs is cocaine. It is the second most-addictive illegal drug, just behind heroin. It is also the second most-harmful illegal drug. Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that creates changes in the brain. These changes can quickly lead to addiction.

Research studies have proven the addictive potential of cocaine. According to Medical News Today, animal research has shown that animals will work hardest for cocaine out of all drugs, including opiates. This same level of addiction in animals pertains to humans as well. After a while, humans will do almost anything to get their hands on cocaine. They will radically change their lifestyle in order to obtain more cocaine. In extreme cases, parents have sold their children in order to get the drug. Some may spend tens of thousands of dollars on cocaine binges.

Cocaine use can lead to bankruptcy, job loss, family tension and even death.

According to Medical News Today, research from England’s University of Cambridge showed that cocaine use caused abnormal brain structure particularly in the front lobe area. Those who were addicted to cocaine had lost a significant amount of gray matter. The stronger the addiction, the more gray matter lost. Among those dependent on cocaine, the brain’s reward center, called the basal ganglia, was much larger than those who had not used cocaine. However, it is believed that the large size may have been present before the cocaine use, suggesting that the basal ganglia’s size contributed to the person’s addictive behavior.

According to Medical News Today, when cocaine gains control of a person, it changes the person’s behavior, feelings and ways of thinking. Cocaine dependence becomes a compulsion. Oddly enough, there are many people who use cocaine but never become addicted. It is unknown if cocaine use is genetic. Researchers have found key mechanisms in the brain that can explain the addictive potential of cocaine. Cocaine affects a genetic process that can alter the brain’s pleasure circuits, contributing to a preference for cocaine. The enzyme G9A plays a huge role in gene expression. By repressing the enzyme, cocaine addiction is less likely to occur.

Why People Use Cocaine

Cocaine is a powerful drug that can cause what users perceive as positive effects to one’s body. When a person is high on cocaine, they feel intense pleasure.

According to Medical News Today, while high on cocaine a person may feel increases in:
  • Motor function
  • Energy
  • Alertness
  • Sexuality
  • Competence

Get Help Today

Although no drugs to treat cocaine addiction currently exist, behavioral therapies have proven effective in decreasing cocaine use that can lead to relapse. Researchers are currently working on drugs that can not only reduce cocaine cravings, but help the person deal with triggers, such as stress, that can lead to relapse. It is important that the behavioral therapies meet the person’s individual needs. Support groups and counseling may need to be combined with therapies in order to produce the best results.

Need help finding the right drug rehab services? You have come to the right place. We have helped many people find the treatment they need to beat their addiction. Call us today and we can help you as well.