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The ‘back door’ in brain that doesn’t allow addict refrain from cocaine

The ‘back door’ in brain that doesn’t allow addict refrain from cocaine

Various studies have shown that regular and heavy use of cocaine can have detrimental effect on the human mind and body and may even prove fatal. But not much was done to stop the cocaine-seeking habits in individuals.

A study by the University of Cambridge, published in the journal Nature Communications in 2016, revealed about an important evidence signifying the difficulty of a drug addict to control his addiction due to lack of self-control. The researchers believed that this could be due to a “back door” in their brain that does not allow them to refrain from cocaine.

In a second study by the same scientists, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, it was found that a medicine used to treat paracetamol overdose can help in controlling addiction habits of cocaine abusers.

Repeated use of cocaine can lead to addiction

In the study done on rats, the scientists found that a repeated use of cocaine can lead to addiction to the drug. It was observed that approximately four in 10 people who relapsed show a craving for the drug, indicating that the remaining six addicts experienced a relapse for reasons other than the need of the drug in the body.

Dr. David Belin of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Cambridge said, “In some individuals, though, frequent use leads to addiction, where use of the drug is no longer voluntary, but ultimately becomes a compulsion. We wanted to understand why this should be the case.”

When an addict takes drugs, chemical dopamine is released into the brain and provides the high to the user. Gradually, this volitional drug-taking habit transforms into a compulsive behavior, which is beyond an addict’s control.

An earlier research by Barry Everitt of the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge showed that while self-administering cocaine use the rats who sought the drug indicated dopamine-related activity in a brain region known as the nucleus accumbens, associated with “goal-directed” behavior. But when the rats were given cocaine over a long-term, the activity shifted to the area called dorsolateral striatum, which leads to habitual behavior implying that the rats had developed a drug-taking habit.

The brain region called prefrontal cortex is responsible for a balance between goal-directed and habitual behavior. A long-term exposure to cocaine causes alterations in the prefrontal cortex and in the region known as the basolateral amygdala, associated with linking a stimulus to an emotion. While the basolateral amygdala stores positive memories related to the drug, the prefrontal cortex alters this information, helping a person decide whether or not to consume drugs.

In the present study, the researchers found a pathway, linking the basolateral amygdala indirectly with the dorsolateral striatum, circumventing the prefrontal cortex, which associated impulse with habit, showing that an addict may not know about his craving for the drug. This is why treatments for drug addiction are usually not effective.

Fighting addiction through detoxification

On observing any of the unusual symptoms, it is important to seek medical advice before things worsen. To get rid of an addiction, detoxification is the first step in the treatment process. Detoxification is all about removing drug or alcohol from the body. It is effective in dealing with withdrawal symptoms and preventing cravings and relapse. It can be done either at an inpatient or at an outpatient rehab center. Right counseling in the initial stage of treatment can also help in kicking the habit.

If you or your loved one is battling addiction, it is time to choose one of the reputed detox centers in Colorado that suits your needs. The Colorado Detox Helpline can help you get the best treatment. Our experts can connect you to one of the most reputed detox treatment centers in Colorado. Chat online with our expert today, or call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-730-5807 for more information.


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