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How Cocaine Can PrimeThe Brain For A Drug Relapse

Cocaine drug RelapseRecently, scientists have found that cocaine causes major changes in the brain. Coupled with stress, these changes open the door for users to relapse. Dr. Peter McCormick and his colleagues at the University of East Anglia in the U.K. discovered a new molecular mechanism in the reward center of the brain that influences how cocaine addicts might relapse after stressful events.

The Brain And Drug Relapse

The experiment

McCormick and team paid attention to the interaction between messenger molecules that carry information between the neurons in the part of the brain that’s responsible for controlling reward, motivation and drug additions.

“We had speculated that there might be a direct communication between neuroreceptors controlling stress and reward,” said McCormick. “When we tested this, we found this to indeed be the case. Our research showed that the release of neuropeptides influences activity in this part of the brain and that profound changes occur at the neuroreceptor level due to exposure to cocaine.”

In layman’s terms, researchers found that cocaine interferes with receptors and causes an increased risk of relapse under stressful conditions. The break in communication between these receptors makes it harder for the brain to deal with stress, increasing the odds that

Can medicine help?

The changes that cocaine produces in the brain’s chemistry weaken self­-control, which makes it more likely that an addict, even a recovering one, will have a harder time giving into temptation.

According to a report in the Journal of Neuroscience, it is suggested that a medicine to remove the miscommunication between the receptors, thereby restoring it, could potentially prevent relapse. This, of course, is a ways away.


Treating drug addiction is not as simple as taking a vitamin, going to yoga, or eating healthy. Of course, all of these aspects help to keep the body pure and clear the mind, but drug addiction treatment takes hard work and dedication from the addict. This mindset, coupled with the right addiction treatment facility makes all the difference in the journey to live a sober life. The Watershed is the right choice for you. Call today. We’re available 24/7: 1­-800-439-5959.

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