Cocaine AddictionDopamine and Serotonin Focus Lorenzo Camacho Psyc 275 “The Brain”Professor Christine Moon Aug/6/2012
What is Addiction? Addiction is a primary, chronic disease involving brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry; it can lead to relapse, progressive development, and the potential for fatality if not treated. While pathological use of alcohol and, more recently, psychoactive substances have been accepted as addictive diseases, developing brain science has set the stage for inclusion of the process addictions, including food, sex, shopping and gambling problems, in a broader definition of addiction (Smith).
History of Cocaine According to Narconon.org, “Cocaine in its various forms is derived from the coca plant which is native to the high mountain ranges of South America. The coca leaves were used by natives of this region and acted upon the user as a stimulant. The stimulating effects of the drug increase breathing which increases oxygen intake. This afforded native laborers of the region the stamina to perform their duties in the thin air at high altitudes. In time, science figured out how to maximize the strength and effect of the drug contained in the coca leaves.”
Narconon.org also states, “Through chemically synthesizing the coca leaves the white crystal powder we have come to know as cocaine was created. As time passed newer methods to magnify the euphoric effects of the drug were invented which has led us to the most potent and addictive form of the drug, crack cocaine.”
AddictingCocaine is very addicting, when tested on labortory rats the animals would ignore food, sex, and electric shock for another chance to grovel in the narcotic (Wormer).
Cocaine and the Limbic Brain Region In an article entitled, “ Inside the addicts brain” by Psychological Today states, “Cocaine affects nerve cells in the limbic system, the most ancient part of the brain and one closely tied to emotions. But rather than bind to a receptor, it interrupts the process of re-uptake that terminates the action of dopamine. Cocaine is not only a blocker of dopamine uptake but of the re-uptake of serotonin and norepinephrine as well.”
It also explains that all of this leads to vast over stimulation of nerve cells and creates intense feelings of excitement and joy. With cocaine, dopamine spills forth and floods our pleasure receptors. On the downside, cocaine eventually wipes out the brains existing supply of these neurotransmitters temporarily, leading to a hellish withdrawal marked by severe depression, paranoia, intense irritability, and craving.
Understanding Dopamine & Serotonin Dopamine has a variety of influences on brain function, including playing a role in regulating attention, cognition, movement, pleasure, and hormonal processes. Serotonin is a naturally occurring chemical in the brain (a neurotransmitter) that is responsible, in part, for regulating brain functions such as mood, appetite, sleep, and memory.
Cocaine Effects on Dopamine Dopamine is implicated in conditioned responses. Cocaine abusers show decreases in dopamine levels, which enhances conditioned responses since tonic dopamine levels modulate dopamine release. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter that processes reward and prediction of reward is involved with the reinforcing effects of drugs of cocaine abuse with responses to drug conditioned cues (Wong).
Cocaine effects on Serotonin The serotonin 5-HT and 5-HT receptors, which are found in abundance in the mesolimbocortical dopaminergic system, appear to modulate the behavioral effects of cocaine (Katsidoni). The 5-HT system plays an important role in the organization of spontaneous behaviors, like locomotion, eating, drinking or grooming, and is also involved in emotion and mood.
Addiction In our textbook, “The Complete Mind” (pg 200), it states, “Cocaine activates the entire brain but give an extra stimulus to its emotional centers, a clue to users reports that during enhances the experience of sex and food.”
Cocaine Pleasure Susan Graysen explains it best when she says, “Cocaine fills many needs for people who use the drag. It becomes a buffer between the individual and his world. For those who are afraid to risk vulnerability in a relationship, it provides courage. For those who become paranoid and aggressive as closeness develops, it assuages their fear. For those who are afraid to become dependent on another person, it provides a "safer" object of dependency. For those who have problems with the ritual of sexuality, it provides a ritual of drag-taking. Just take cocaine and feel energized, vivacious, sexual, interested and involved in the other person.”
BUT... But, “When the drag wears off, so does the buffer, and the pain can be overwhelming. The good, enabling feelings are dependent on a cocaine state of being.” Cocaine is a brain irritant: It alters brain chemistry by affecting several important neurotransmitters, including:(Graysen)
The Addiction... Cocaine evokes central nervous system stimulation through two mechanisms. First, it augments the release of dopamine from neurons that normally use this neurotransmitter to relay impulses. More importantly, cocaine inhibits the re-absorption of dopamine that has been released into the synapse. The resulting increase in dopamine within the synapse leads to heightened and prolonged stimulation of pleasure centers in the brain
which sets the stage for repeated use. The brain compensates for the dopamine surfeit by decreasing the number and sensitivity of dopamine receptors, thus prompting physiologic dependence, evidenced by a need for increased cocaine doses to achieve a similar "high." Addiction ensues when the users behaviors change to ensure continued acquisition of the drug.(pg200 TCM)
Withdrawal According to When an addict tries to give up a dopamine-enhancing drug, the body compensates for the loss. Like a stretched rubber band snapping back, neurons not only return to their initial neurotransmitter levels, they exceed them. Hyperactivity often results, contributing to the symptoms of withdrawal (pg 202 “The Complete Mind”).
Treatment LiveStrong.com states, Treatment for addiction disorders is complicated, and cocaine addiction is no exception. Attention to the multiple needs of the addicted individual is necessary, in addition to management of the medical problems associated with addiction to a specific substance. Detoxification, usually in a medical setting, is often required to deal with immediate withdrawal symptoms.
Medications to mitigate neurotransmitter abnormalities can help, as can drugs that alleviate the mood disturbances associated with withdrawal. A vaccine to reduce the likelihood of relapse is under investigation.
Annotated BibliographyBBC News, How does cocaine affect the brain, [video], (2011), Retrieved August 2, 2012, fromBBC News is credible because of their reputation over many decades. Its the same reputation that The New york times newspaper has. Both are not perfect, but they are conscientious in trying to be honest and factual. This video speaks about the process of cocain through the brain and also has Dr. Adam Winlock a Psychatrist Consultant explain the process.
*Graysen, Susan. "Cocaine Alters Brain Chemistry: Implications For Complex Treatment." Brown University Psychopharmacology Update 6.5 (1995): 1. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Aug. 2012Concentrates on cocaine and the different types of treatment. This Journal focuses on the effects cocaine has on Neurotransmitters. Also Susan Greysen Graduate from Brown University is a credible source do to her educational background and acedemic journal listing in Ebsco.
"Inside The Addicts Brain. (Cover Story)." Psychology Today 27.5 (1994): 37. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Aug. 2012.This article is a covery story that talks about neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. It is a very credible source due to the nature of the information in relatio to my topic.
*Katsidoni, Vicky, Kalliopi Apazoglou, and George Panagis. "Role Of Serotonin 5-HT And 5- HT Receptors On Brain Stimulation Reward And The Reward-Facilitating Effect Of Cocaine." Psychopharmacology 213.2/3 (2011): 337- 354. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Aug. 2012.This article is about serotonin 5-HT and 5-HT receptors, which are found in abundance in the mesolimbocortical dopaminergic system, appear to modulate the behavioral effects of cocaine...”
Livesstrong, The limitless potential of you, 2012 Demand Media, Inc. < http://livestrong.com/cocaine-addiction>This website had an abundance of information from addiction to cocaine to helping someone that has a addiction. It explains how cocaine became addicting and what are the characteristics of an addict.
Smith, David E. "Editors Note: The Process Addictions And The New ASAM Definition Of Addiction." Journal Of Psychoactive Drugs 44.1 (2012): 1-4. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Aug. 2012.In this Journal, it explains the process of addiction and talks about the new stages of addiction. From drugs to sex to internet addictions. It is a credible source because this journal has been peer reviewed.
Sweeney, Michael S, “Brain: The Complete Mind.” Book, Page 200-205, August 2012.This textbook from class had some great information and help me get started on my project. It speaks about withdrawal, recovery, addiction and much more. It slso touched on genetic addiction.
*Wong, Christopher, et al. "Methylphenidate Attenuates Limbic Brain Inhibition After Cocaine-Cues Exposure In Cocaine Abusers." Plos ONE 5.7 (2010): 1-9. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Aug. 2012.Wong uses studies to show that cocaine users show decrease in dopamine levels and tested brain activity in their studies. Studies prove his hypothesis correct in many ways.
*Wormer, Katherine, “Addiction treatment: A Strenths Perspective.” Book, Third Edition, pg 153, August 2012.The book has very interesting points and suggestions about addiction and treaments for specific addictions. Katherine Wormer goes in detail about a nationwide problem and tries to focus on recovery tips for users and their families.