In a recent issue of Brain, Cambridge researchers studied 120 human brains and half of them to be dependent on cocaine. Researchers found that there were abnormal structures located in the frontal lobe of the brains of those who used cocaine and this was connected to their compulsive behaviors linked to cocaine use.
Dr. Karen Ersche led the study with her team of researchers and found that there was an extensive amount of grey matter lost and that it was directly caused by the length of cocaine abuse. The study showed that the longer the person used cocaine, the larger the grey matter loss was and that the loss was linked to their compulsiveness to use cocaine.
Cocaine continues to be one of the top drugs of addicts on the illegal drug circuit and wields its damage to the brain by completely altering the way a person behaves. Users of cocaine feel like they cannot live without the drug, even when facing unpleasant consequences. Ersche explains that their findings are significant in that they show a vivid relationship between the length of cocaine use and the brain and the attention problems people face with their dependence on it.
Dr. Ersche says their research is important for development of “more effective therapeutic interventions” for those with a dependence on drugs and will provide them with strategies to help prevent the addiction before it happens. Science Daily highlights this research as it shows the dependence on cocaine is clearly recognized as a brain disorder and that is significant for those trying to overcome their addiction to the drug.
Researchers are planning to explore if there is a hereditary weakness in developing a dependence on cocaine, as they do know it is a drug that is highly addictive but not everyone using it acquires the addiction. They will also explore the effects of cocaine’s recreational use in the near future.