There has been a great deal of research done about cocaine to help us understand why the drug is so addictive, as well as to find out how it produces the pleasurable side effects in those who use the drug.
Effects on the Brain
One of the ways that cocaine produces addiction in people is by working on portions of the brain. The ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the brain is one area in particular that is stimulated by cocaine. When a you take the drug, cocaine causes this section of the brain to produce pleasurable feelings. This portion of the brain is naturally stimulated by other things, such as food, drink, shelter, social activities and sex. When cocaine stimulates it, however, the effect is much more sudden and intense than most other natural activities and the feeling is addictive.
In a normal brain, a chemical called dopamine is released by neurons which then bind to receptors in the brain called dopamine receptors. The dopamine is then recycled through the use of a special protein called a dopamine transporter. However, if there is cocaine in the body, it blocks this normal pleasure process, causing the dopamine to build up in the brain which contributes to the enhanced pleasurable effects.
What the Research Says
When a pleasurable event occurs, the brain naturally produces a large quantity of dopamine. However, when you use drugs like cocaine, the process that makes this happen is thrown off course and blocked. The buildup of dopamine that occurs between the synapses when cocaine is abused causes the neurons in the brain to be continually stimulated, which most likely causes the euphoric state that cocaine addicts find so pleasurable. This euphoric state and the constant bombardment of the brain tissue with dopamine is one reason why the drug is so physically and psychologically addictive.
Looking to the Future
This means that you must take higher and higher doses of the drug in order to feel pleasure to the extent that you experienced the first time. Recent studies have shown that when you go through periods of not taking cocaine, the memories of the euphoric high experienced while on the drug can cause you to have massive cravings and may even cause you to relapse even if you haven’t been abstinent for a long period of time.
Rehab at The Canyon
At the core of The Canyon’s treatment program is our drive to help you develop a positive relationship with yourself using a series of traditional and nontraditional treatments and therapies. Through your own unique cocaine addiction treatment program, you will be given the opportunity to reconnect with your personal dreams and desires as well as develop an authentic relationship with your life.
At The Canyon, your successful recovery from cocaine addiction is our goal, and we’re here to do everything possible to help you achieve it. Give us a call today.