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Cocaine Drug Effect On The Brain

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Cocaine Drug Effect On The Brain

A recent scientific study has shown that cocaine messes with our will power and this maybe the reason that some are more vulnerable to addiction than others.

Brains scans have revealed the possible biological basic for cocaine addiction. The scans show that cocaine alters the parts of the brain responsible for behavior and appropriate decision making.

Because the drug directly affects our will power, the recent findings may help explain why some are more vulnerable to addiction that others.

Researchers at the Trinity College Dublin took brain scans of cocaine users whilst they performed computer tasks.

The Effects Of Cocaine On The Brain

The results showed that cocaine increased activity in the areas of the pre-frontal cortex.

Crack Cocaine Drug Effects on the BrainThe scans also revealed differences in brain structures of cocaine users; however it is still unclear whether these differences existed before they start taking cocaine, or if they were a result of using the drug.

Although more research is to be carried out, the findings raise the possibility that differences in brain structure are the reason some get addicted whilst others use the drug socially.

Lead researcher Dr Hugh Garavan said previous research into drug abuse had tended to focus on the emotional aspects of addictions – such as pleasure seeking, craving and withdrawal.

The latest study suggests that it is not simply these emotions that are affected by cocaine, but the way the brain deals with them, and keeps them in check by controlling a person’s actions.

Trinity College Dublin researchers will present their findings to a Royal Society meeting.

Better treatments?

Dr. Garavan continues….

“This research helps us move away from thinking of drug dependence as a moral weakness and allows us to see it as more of a medical condition”¦..

“Understanding the role that our brain plays in addiction may also have important implications for treating long-term addiction and designing intervention therapies”¦”¦

“Importantly, new medication based on certain chemical processes in the brain could be developed as currently there are no good pharmacological treatments for cocaine”¦..

“Traditional treatment therapy such as counseling or rehab could also be adapted to train addicts to monitor their behavior and practice impulse control.”

Dr Gerome Breen, of the Institute of Psychiatry, said:

“We now know that the effects of cocaine on the brain are multi-facetted. Dr Garavan and his collaborators have shown convincingly that the brain regions controlling impulse control have their activity altered by cocaine. This aids in our understanding of cocaine’s effects and, thus, the causes of cocaine addiction.”

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