Two years ago, something that had been suspected for a long time was discovered: cocaine causes deterioration in the brain from the first moment it is used . We are not talking about something instantaneous, although there are also a multitude of effects that are noticed at the same time it is consumed, but something more in the long term. It is a deterioration that, for now, it is not known if it can be corrected , and that could end up causing new relapses; It is precisely there where the danger of cocaine lies, in how addictive it can be.

The study was carried out by a team of scientists from the Sant Pau hospital in Barcelona, ​​the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute and the Autonomous University of Barcelona , and later published in the journal Addiction Biology. Dr. Jordi Riba, the main researcher, explained that “we discovered that they had undergone changes in the three elements we studied “, referring to a group of people who had been consumers. They studied brain function, the structure of gray and white matter, and the state of the communication pathways found between different areas of the brain.

There was an area of ​​the brain that had suffered a great deterioration, the so-called ventral striatum , which corresponds to one of the primitive areas of the brain; it was the so-called ” reward circuit ” that was most damaged. The cocaine had succeeded in overstimulating him, while it had made the part of the brain involved in regulating one’s behavior underactive; It is easy to understand, then, to what extent it is difficult to get out of cocaine use as this deterioration has occurred. In addition to this, they saw that ” in the gray matter the reward circuit, and the connections between them, has been strengthened, while the size of the white matter outside the reward area decreases .”why people do not stop using and have so many relapses. It is not due to simple weakness or lack of willpower, it is that the brain structure has changed . ”

Cocaine seriously damages the brain

A few years ago, in the United States, they conducted an experiment with laboratory rats to analyze the extent to which cocaine could damage the brain. They came to the same conclusions as the researchers we mentioned above, and they also added entirely new notes. What they did was supply drugs to the animals, seeing how the rats were gradually associating that sensation with the environment in which they were ; Later, they extracted the area of ​​the brain that is responsible for tasks such as attention, cognition, inhibitory behavior and memory. It was there when they discovered that “When we manipulated them and removed these nets, we saw that our animals had poorer memories. It was a very novel finding, since no one has ever looked at these structures within the prefrontal cortex in relation to a drug memory . “The rats thus stopped associating the environment with the drug, although, of course, we are not talking about an applicable solution humans; it is not even a solution as such, but one more proof that cocaine damages the brain.

Beyond this, it has been known for decades how cocaine affects the nervous system from the outset, inhibiting serotonin reuptake . This, in the long term, makes the brain become immune to cocaine, and that the person who uses it needs more and more to be able to satisfy their need.

Cocaine is one of the drugs that affects our brain the hardest, leaving irreversible damage, and that could cause relapses to end up being constant . That is why any type of contact with this drug should be avoided; Not only is it addictive, but its effects are not at all pleasant in the human body, neither in the short nor in the long term.

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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