Cocaine is Highly Addictive with No Alternative

Methadone, Suboxone, and Buprenorphine are common medical treatment options for managing detox from highly addictive substances. These drugs are used for treating symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol, heroin, opioid prescription painkillers, and crystal meth. Drug replacement or substitution drug therapy is still widely controversial. Seen as a preventative measure, these substances can help stave off the risk of relapse. Drugs like Nalexone can reduce the effect of an opioid overdose. Labeling other substances as “cures” to addiction is a controversial practice. However, medication assisted treatment can be successful in treating addictive patterns of attachment to powerful and harmful drugs.

Synthetics, methamphetamines, opiates, and alcohol are covered by medication assisted treatment. At this time there is no medication alternative to stimulant drugs such as cocaine. Cocaine addiction is often regarded as being the addiction “without a cure” or a “treatment”. Interestingly, the study of cocaine’s effect on the neuroscience of rats has served as the foundation for understanding the way addiction works in the brain. Knowledge of the dopamine neurotransmitter and its role in contributing to addiction through the pleasure and reward system revolutionized addiction treatment.  New studies on the effect of cocaine in rats have revealed more information which reveals why cocaine addiction is hard to ‘beat’ long term.

Rats in the study were allowed to self-administer up to 40 doses of cocaine for six hours a day which fostered their transition into addictive states. After five days the rats were forced into abstinence for anywhere from two weeks to two months. Time in ‘recovery’ showed researchers that the rat’s dopamine levels returned to normal equal to rats who were given saline. The truly revelatory moment came when the rats were given one single dose of self administered cocaine after the period of abstinence. That single dose resurrected the exact level of tolerance the rats experienced during their active addiction. Cocaine addiction creates a long lasting effect on the structure of the mind. Finding alternative and effective treatment methods for cocaine addiction can help reduce the risk of relapse which, as the research proved, is highly dangerous.

Refuge Recovery provides detox services for people needing a safe and medically assisted treatment for withdrawing from drugs like cocaine. We also offer intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization programs for holistic treatment of addiction. For more information call 323-207-0276.

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