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Cocaine Addiction Overview

Cocaine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant, most commonly used as a recreational drug, and enters the body through inhalation, smoke, or dissolution into a vein. After ingesting cocaine, the body will experience accelerated heart rhythms, sweating, and enlarged pupils, and it will give people strong mental stimulation. Cocaine has certain medical uses and can be used for anesthesia or hemostasis. However, due to its effect on the brain's reward pathways, dependence may occur after use, with subsequent consequences that increase the risk of stroke, myocardial infarction, smoker lung disease, blood infections and sudden cardiac death. As a result, cocaine is the second most commonly used illicit drug in the world after cannabis, and the International Single Narcotics Convention has required countries to criminalize recreational use of cocaine.

Overview of cocaine addiction pathways

Cocaine Addiction Symptoms

Although cocaine can bring transient but intense high-level mental stimulation, cocaine abuse can cause severe symptoms of cocaine addiction, including tolerance to the drug. This tolerance means you need to take more cocaine more often to get the desired effect. The signs and symptoms of cocaine addiction vary from person to person, however, there are currently identified psychological, physical, and behavioral symptoms that can serve as reliable indicators of cocaine addiction.

  • Physical symptoms include elevated body temperature, mydriasis, hypertension, rapid heartbeat, loss of appetite, energy burst, reduced need for sleep, liver damage, kidney damage, cognitive impairment and breathing problems.
  • Mental symptoms include restlessness, mood swings, agitation, irritability, depression, irritability, brief state of euphoria, psychosis and sudden overabundance of confidence.

Pharmacological Mechanism of Cocaine

The pharmacological effects of cocaine are mainly the effects on neurotransmitters. In the central nervous system, cocaine tightly binds to the dopamine transporter to form a complex, which prevents the dopamine transmitter from recycling through the transporter. This causes dopamine to accumulate in the synaptic cleft, and an increase in its concentration activates the post-synaptic dopamine receptors, eventually receiving mental feedback. In addition, cocaine blocks sodium channels, which interferes with the spread of action potentials, making them useful as a local anesthetic. Cocaine also causes vasoconstriction, which reduces bleeding during minor surgical procedures.

Cocaine is rapidly metabolized in the body and has a short half-life. Cholinesterase will cleave cocaine through hydrolysis of the ester to produce benzoylecgonine (BE), ecgonine methyl ester (EME), and other metabolites, only about 1%. Cocaine is excreted completely through the urine. Benzomorphine can be detected in urine within four hours after cocaine ingestion, and prolonged use of cocaine can increase the benzoylmorphine concentration in urine to 150 ng / mL. Hair also contains metabolites of cocaine until the hair that grows during use is cut or dropped.

Treatment of Cocaine Addiction

There are three main treatment mechanisms for cocaine addiction: First, using a substitute for cocaine produces a similar dopamine effect. Second, cocaine antagonists are used to prevent cocaine and dopamine transporter binding. Third, compounds that act on cocaine binding sites are used to modulate the effects of cocaine. It is important to emphasize that the relapse rate of drug addicts after quitting drugs exceeds 90%. Due to the unclear neural mechanism of relapse, no effective medicine or method has been developed to prevent relapse in the world. Some studies have shown that most smokers experience relapses or similar reactions within three months.

For research use only. Not intended for any clinical use.

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