Cocaine has been ranked by the authoritative British medical journal, The Lancet, as the second most addictive and harmful recreational drug after heroin – outperforming even meth and tobacco. But why does cocaine addiction happen?
This strong nervous system stimulant has been in existence for a very long time. First ingested in its natural form as leaves of the coca plant, then synthesized for far more profound effects, cocaine has been in use in the United States for more than a hundred and fifty years. It was actually originally considered a legal substance and even used in products as ubiquitous as Coca- Cola, but the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914 finally banned this drug for personal use, as well as opiates.
Addictive Properties of Cocaine
Why does cocaine addiction happen, though? While we know that the substance is psychologically addictive, is cocaine physically addictive as well? The simple answer, according to modern science, is “no.”Cocaine, unlike cigarettes and opiates, which come with some severe physical withdrawal symptoms, is not considered physically addictive. While the cravings for the drug may feel as severe as they do when experiencing withdrawal from physically addictive substances, experts have long classified the drug as psychologically addictive only, though some scientists dispute this.Read about how to get help for your Cocaine addiction
James Stellar, a psychology professor at Northeastern University, is one of them. (Cocaine Help) “They think that because you don’t sweat and get cramps and other physical symptoms, it’s not physically addictive. We’re saying it is a physical addiction — in the brain.”Stellar’s experiments focus on pinpointing what happens, biologically, in the brains of cocaine-addicted rats and, chiefly, how the drug triggers the overproduction of dopamine. In this way, he hopes to establish reasons to further investigate cocaine as a physically addictive substance.
Back to this disputed question: Why does cocaine addiction happen? Cocaine users say the drug brings intense focus. This is probably why so many people have become addicted to it while on the job. Along with this, its status as a stimulant means that it produces a great abundance of energy and increases alertness.It may also elevate the user’s mood and, ultimately, this can lead to a sense of utter supremacy in social situations. Unfortunately for the user, the euphoric effects of the drug are relatively short, lasting up to an hour at most, until it needs to be taken again to repeat the desired effects.
After prolonged use cocaine will produce highly negative effects on:
- The heart
- The brain
- Nasal structures
- The nervous system
Most importantly treatment for the recovering addict is highly encouraged.
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