Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant and an amphetamine. As a natural substance, cocaine excites the brain and the body with high amounts of activity and energy. Producing large volumes of the neurotransmitter dopamine, cocaine has a highly pleasurable effect on the brain, which the brain quickly takes notice of. Almost immediately after ingesting cocaine a cocaine user wants more because the drugs has such an instantaneous impact. After just a few episodes of using cocaine, a tolerance can develop. Quickly thereafter, chemical dependency.
Cocaine has served as the drug of choice in neurobiological models of addiction more than any other substance. Cocaine is highly addictive and serves as the best example of how addiction forms in the brain. New studies have found that cocaine addiction is so powerful because it actually begins much sooner than researchers previously believed. The Guardian writes a powerful and indicative statement about the powerful addictive quality of cocaine, “The research suggests that using cocaine just once may cause an addiction”.
Conducted by researchers at McGill university in Canada, non-dependent users of cocaine, or recreational users of cocaine, had their brain activity examined while they viewed triggering images. Visual cues like seeing someone use cocaine, images of cocaine, or hearing associated sounds are called triggers for those who are addicted. These triggers can cause the production of dopamine, also called dopamine release, which causes cravings. Cravings occur when the dopamine release reaches the specific areas of the brain in which cravings are created. For the non-dependent users, the visual cues did in fact cause dopamine release which activated areas of the brain that cause cravings. As the article bluntly stated, the research does suggest that just one experience with the use of cocaine is enough to leave a lasting impact of craving on the brain. The production of pleasure is so severe that the brain does not forget it, and often craves it.
Previously, it was believed that cocaine addiction develops over time. This new research indicates cocaine addiction can develop almost immediately. Cocaine is a highly addictive and highly dangerous drug. Heart attack and seizure are common with cocaine abuse and cannot be predicted. If you are struggling with a cocaine addiction, you are not alone. You can recovery and live life free of the use of cocaine.
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