1aindicates the changes in brain activity through
use of cocaine. As is clearly demonstrated, the effects are quite extraordinary;
the more use and abuse, the greater the damage. Much of the damage noted is
irreversible or at the very best, only partially able to be
restored.Figure 1b is
the‘usual’ method of
cocaine use; by‘snorting’. Many of those who‘snort’ cocaine run the risk of destroying
cartilage between the nostrils).
Dopamine, leaving the neurotransmitters in the synapse for longer periods of
time. This has the effect of perpetuating the transmission along the nerve
pathway. The effect is‘euphoria’ or the perception of‘happiness’.
Unfortunately continued use of Cocaine will lead to the body removing some of
the receptors from the‘post-synaptic’ neuron because the neurotransmitters have stayed in the
synapse‘too long’. After the
effects of the drug have worn off, the individual is likely to feel depressed
and unhappy, dull & unable to utilize cognitive (thinking) functioning as
they should. Because excessive amounts of‘Dopamine’ build
up in the synapses through Cocaine use & abuse, the initial enhancement or
amplification of the‘pleasure
signal’ results changes that
require higher & more frequent‘hits’ to
achieve the initial‘high’. Eventually a tolerance can develop where repeated use
does little for the user except for the negative & damaging effects. One of
the serious problems that can arise from such a tolerance (or from complete
naivety or stupidity) is that of‘poly-drug’ use.
This is the partaking of two or more psychoactive substances simultaneously. A
good example of this is that of Alcohol plus Cocaine.
Whilst enhancing the‘euphoric’ effect of the cocaine, the human liver metabolizes the
two (2) substances into another called‘cocaethylene’. The likelihood of‘sudden
death’ from this substance is much
greater than Cocaine itself. Cocaine can be‘snorted’ through the nasal passages (the more standard method) ,
injected or ingested. Binge Cocaine use can lead to irritability, anxiety &
restlessness and often the manifestation of psychotic symptoms such as paranoid delusions &/or auditory hallucinations.
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