In a recent study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), cocaine’s destructive effects on cognitive function and its ultimate triggering of addiction are directly related to its ability to disrupt serotonin. After people consume this powerful stimulant, cocaine immediately blocks receptors for the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and (most importantly) serotonin, which results in an overflow of these chemicals. Ultimately, the tidal wave of dopamine (specifically in the nucleus accumbens) triggers the instinctive desire to consume more cocaine. However, NIDA’s new study shows that disruptions in serotonin levels (in the ventral pallidum) may also trigger the reward system that makes victims crave this stimulant. Let’s take a closer look and find out some more information.

Amplification of Rewards

THE BIZARRE CONNECTION BETWEEN COCAINE AND SEROTONINAs part of the study, Dr. Aya Matsui (Intramural Research Program), Dr. Veronica Alvarez (member of NIDA’s IRP division), and a team of researchers compiled evidence to suggest the disruption of serotonin and the subsequent boost of cocaine cravings. Ultimately, the scientists suggested that an increase in serotonin levels could ultimately weaken a person’s resistance to cravings for this dangerous stimulant. While administering the drug to mice, the IRP group also speculated that cocaine opens up the reward pathway and rewires neurons (in the motor cortex, specifically) to readily respond to cravings.

Pharmacotherapy Potential

Ultimately, these studies boil down to the possibility of pharmacotherapy for these victims. The discovery that dopamine and serotonin influence cocaine addict’s self-control is remarkable, and the IRP team hopes this information will help other medical professionals develop pharmacotherapy for cocaine use disorder in general. As. Dr. Alvarez explains, future treatments for cocaine addicts should be calculated to match requirements for serotonin levels, as well as dopamine. Likewise, medications will also have to match configurations for GABA transmission inhibition.

Seeking Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Over the course of many decades, cocaine has risen from the ranks of an over-the-counter stimulant to one of the most feared and destructive substances on the planet. Ultimately, this substance can destroy a person’s brain and body and trigger a severe form of addiction. However, as with any sickness, you can easily find a way to cope with your symptoms. Although addiction has no known cure, you can still stay strong and get clean, if you know where to find the right resources.

If you are suffering from a severe case of drug addiction or have a friend or loved one who is coping with this illness, get in touch with Asana Recovery today. Our professional team of counselors and healthcare experts will help you endure the painful process of alcohol withdrawal and detox and guide you along the rocky road of rehabilitation. Soon enough, you will experience a faster and much more efficient recovery.

If you want to find out more about our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs or enroll in one of these programs today, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your leisure and your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how you can overcome your mental illness and take an extra step toward becoming a healthier person.