Cocaine is addictive, there is no secret about that. However, what many might not know is it enslaves a person so quickly and such an extent that even a “once-in-a-while” use can be a step closer to doom. Whether it is snorted, smoked or injected, the changes caused in the brain lead to mental and physical health problems, which can last for a lifetime. As a recreational drug, it is known by street names of powder, snow, ski, soft, blow, slopes and coca among others. A study titled “Cocaine Cue-Induced Dopamine Release in Recreational Cocaine Users” has reported that even the recreational use of cocaine can put people at the risk of addiction. The results were published in the journal Scientific Reports in April 2017.
The risk of cocaine addiction is associated with the release of dopamine in the area of the brain responsible for craving. Dopamine is a chemical that induces pleasure-seeking behavior among cocaine users. The researchers suggested that one-time use of cocaine can be highly addictive. Surprisingly, even the visual cues – such as seeing someone using cocaine – may trigger dopamine release. The effect is also visible in the brain structure (called as dorsal striatum) deeply seated inside the brain reported to be important for people, who are vulnerable to lose control of their reward-seeking behaviors. According to Prof. Marco Leyton, an expert on the neurobiology of drug use and addictions at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, “The study provides evidence that some of the characteristic brain signals in people who have developed addictions are also present much earlier than most of us would have imagined.”
To see how soon the addictive effect of cocaine came to the play, Leyton and his team used positron emission tomography (PET) scans to look at how dorsal striatum responded to the recreational use of cocaine. They developed highly personalized cues by filming participants while they consumed cocaine in a laboratory set-up in the company of a friend they had previously used the drug with. Thereafter, PET scans were performed on the participants when they were watching the friend taking cocaine in a video. The team found that even the exposure to the cocaine-related cues led to increased craving and subsequent release of dopamine in the dorsal striatum. “An accumulation of these brain triggers might bring people closer to the edge than they had realized,” said Leyton. The researchers concluded that it is imperative to get early help to the users to prevent the risk of dependence or addiction.
Cocaine addiction is dangerous
A cocaine user may experience mental alertness, increased happiness and energy, hypersensitivity to sound and touch, irritability, faster heartbeat, restlessness and paranoia (distrust of others) after short-term use. Consuming the drug in high amounts may also cause unpredictable, bizarre and violent behavior. The prolonged use of cocaine may lead to malnourishment due to decreased appetite and can cause depression and physical health complications.
The greatest risk of cocaine addiction comes from an overdose, which refers to using the drug in amounts where it may cause a toxic reaction, leading to damaging consequences including death. Moreover, injecting cocaine significantly increases the risk of contracting life-threatening conditions including hepatitis C, HIV and other blood-borne diseases. Even people who do not use a needle for cocaine use are likely to develop HIV as the drug users are likely to indulge in risky sexual behavior with infected partners.
Treatment of cocaine addiction
With the gradual use of recreational drugs, one develops tolerance to the drug and need a higher quantity to produce the same level of pleasure. It is important to seek professional help that may require admission to a detox facility. Detox is the first step in treating addiction to remove traces of the drug from the body. It not only helps the patient manage withdrawal symptoms but also allows the body to respond better to the medication and experiential therapies.
If you know someone addicted to any drug, help is at hand. The Florida Detox Helpline offers credible information about the best Florida detox centers and available treatment programs. Chat online or call the 24/7 helpline 855-920-9869 to locate the best Drug detox in Florida.