The Biology Of Cocaine Addiction Essay

The Biology Of Cocaine Addiction Essay

Length: 1945 words (5.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Marisol Muneton
Professor Muller
BIOS 104
TA: Monica Farfan
The Biology of Cocaine Addiction
Drugs are addictive substances that produce pleasant states such as euphoria or relieve distress. Drugs are classified into categories which include: depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens. Depending on the type of drug and the way it is used, referring to if it is sniffed, swallowed, injected, or smoked depends the effect the addiction of that drug has on the body. Scientists such as Koob and Le Moal argue that drug addiction is caused by the dysregulation of the reward mechanism and subsequent allostasis which is the ability to achieve stability through change (Cami and Farre, 2003). Drug addiction produces adaptive changes in the central nervous system that lead to tolerance, physical dependence, sensitization, craving, and relapse (Cami &Farre, 2003). Cocaine is a stimulant that blocks pain sensation and stimulates the central nervous system which causes the heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure to increase. In the brain, cocaine is responsible for blocking the reabsorption of certain neurotransmitters such as dopamine which creates a feeling of well-being, self-confidence, alertness, and lack of hunger.
Cocaine like other drugs are characterized by: inducing well-being, alertness, magnifying normal pleasures, enhancing emotions and sexual feeling, increasing self-confidence and self-perceptions, decreasing anxiety, facilitating interpersonal communication, and producing a lack of hunger (Gawin, 1991). According to Gawin (1991), cocaine addicts report that during binges everything including: nourishment, sleep, money, family, responsibilities, and survival, are all focused on cocaine. After long-term cocaine use, cocaine a...


... middle of paper ...


... Heng, L. J., ... & Wolf, M. E. (2011). Alterations in AMPA receptor subunits and TARPs in the rat nucleus accumbens related to the formation of Ca 2+-permeable AMPA receptors during the incubation of cocaine craving.Neuropharmacology, 61(7), 1141-1151.
Gawin, F. H. (1991). Cocaine addiction: psychology and neurophysiology.Science, 251(5001), 1580-1586.
Kalivas, P. W. (2007). Neurobiology of cocaine addiction: implications for new pharmacotherapy. The American Journal on Addictions, 16(2), 71-78.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (Revised 2009, May). NIDA research report: Cocaine abuseand addiction (NIH Publication No. 09-4166).
Porrino, L. J., Smith, H. R., Nader, M. A., & Beveridge, T. J. (2007). The effects of cocaine: a shifting target over the course of addiction. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 31(8), 1593-1600.



Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Cocaine and the Brain: The Neurobiology of Addiction Essay

- Cocaine and the Brain: The Neurobiology of Addiction In the eyes of the public, the word addict stirs up a negative image: a person of low moral character who willfully chooses to engage in questionable behavior. This image is perpetuated in the media; on a recent episode of E.R., the chief surgeon criticizes another doctor for allowing a heroin addict (who has been treated for an abscess) to exchange a dirty needle, explaining "we donât want these low-lives hanging around the hospital." The social stigma attached to addicts reflects the great gap that exists between scientific knowledge and public perception of addiction....   [tags: Biology Essays Research Papers]

Strong Essays
2202 words (6.3 pages)

The Biology Of Drug Addiction Essay

- ... Even a change this small in one’s genetic sequence can have a large effect on the phenotype of the individual. According to Goldstein, mutations in genes can lead to “abnormalities in the reward pathway, causing a functional deficit in the feelings that are normally associated with pleasure and satisfaction” (Goldstein 2001). These mutations could lead to a defective or even missing protein in the pleasure pathway or abnormal regulation of hormones and neurotransmitters (Goldstein 2001). When a mutation occurs in a person’s protein reward pathway, he or she will become more susceptible to finding alternate sources of pleasure to make up for the natural pleasure their body has trouble pro...   [tags: Drug addiction, Addiction, Dopamine, DNA]

Strong Essays
1096 words (3.1 pages)

Addiction And Its Effects On The Brain Essay

- Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Addiction is normally thought of as drug abuse and alcoholism but people can also be addicted to things such as gambling and sex as well. The controversy on if addiction is a disease or a choice is a continuous debate. Everyone has an opinion on this topic, one side believes it’s a disease, while the other believes it is a choice....   [tags: Drug addiction, Addiction, Alcoholism]

Strong Essays
1474 words (4.2 pages)

Drug Addiction And Its Effects Essay

- ... It does not mean they failed if they go into relapse, it just means you have to change something about their treatment or just reinstate it if they stopped the treatment. Drugs are chemicals that can mess up how your brain send, receives, and process information. There is at least two ways that the drugs can do that. It can act like the brain’s natural chemical messengers. It can also overstimulate the “reward circuit” of the brain. Some drugs such as heroin and marijuana is similar to chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters, which are naturally produced by the brain so they confuse the brain and send abnormal messages through the nerve cells....   [tags: Drug addiction, Addiction, Dopamine]

Strong Essays
723 words (2.1 pages)

Addiction Is A Complex Social, Emotional And Physiological Condition Essay

- ... Humans try to control their environment externally with clothing and shelter. Even though the plant synthesizes the chemical to protect it humans evolved a way to benefit instead. “Existing models of drug reward have effectively bypassed the paradox by ignoring the evolved function of plant drugs and the probable coevolution of plant defensive compounds and herbivore nervous systems. (…)hedonic reward best characterizes the psychological and physiological responses to drug exposure.” (Sullivan) We have evolved to the point where we can manipulate our own internal emotions with natural and synthesized medicinal remedy....   [tags: Drug addiction, Drug, Addiction, Pharmacology]

Strong Essays
1383 words (4 pages)

Cocaine in the Brain Essays

- Cocaine in the Brain "Cocaine delivers an intensity of pleasure - and despair - beyond the bounds of normal human experience." During the 1980s, Partnership for a Drug Free America began airing commercials that seem to either frighten or educate people about the use of illegal drugs. One of these commercials avowed, "No one ever says, 'I want to be a junkie when I grow up'." The comment is obvious, but very true. Probably very few people aspire to be drug addicts. But it happens, everyday. Why....   [tags: Biology Essays Research Papers]

Free Essays
1216 words (3.5 pages)

Mind Over Matter: The Effects of Cocaine Essay

- Coca plants may be just a plant. However, coca contains a popular and much known element that is extracted from its leaves and traced back many decades ago. An element that is manipulated and can be transformed into a mind altering, euphoric, and abused substance. The effects of Cocaine are not only to the body, but our main control center, the Central Nervous system. Whether snorted or smoked cocaine’s psychoactive effects are known to be euphoric causing a spike in energy, alertness, and allowing the abuser to become more talkative....   [tags: system, nervous, temr, body, brain]

Strong Essays
523 words (1.5 pages)

Essay on Addiction and the Brain

- Addiction and the Brain The ponderance that Brain = Behavior and the inherent ramifications of such proves no more fascinating than when addressed in the context of "Addiction and the Brain". Essential to consider is: -what exactly is an addictive/abusive substance (drugs of abuse) -what brain center(s)/chemical(s)are involved -what does it mean to become physiologically dependent -how should the concept of addiction be addressed -how might we use animal models -and what sort of treatment approaches should be pursued....   [tags: Biology Essays Research Papers]

Strong Essays
1052 words (3 pages)

Addiction and the Reward Circuit Essay

- Addiction and the Reward Circuit Most people are affected directly or indirectly by drug addiction. Many stereotypes including race and socio-economic class are associated with drug addiction. Despite longstanding stereotypes there is more and more evidence being discovered pointing to an explanation from within the brain of the addict. Free will is generally associated with drug addicts as is their choice to use drugs, but free will may not be a factor in addiction. The key to addiction lies solely in the brain, without influence form the "I-function", or free will....   [tags: Biology Essays Research Papers]

Strong Essays
728 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on Drug Addiction: A Brain Disease?

- Drug Addiction: A Brain Disease. When people hear the words drug addict, these words have negative connotations and stigmas attached to them. People visualize a person who does not care about anything, including family, work, or commitments, except for obtaining money to buy drugs to get high. However, there are many people who are drug addicts that maintain a normal, functioning life. Before we can examine why these people are addicted to drugs, one must first define the word addict. George F. Koob defines addiction as a compulsion to take a drug without control over the intake and a chronic relapse disorder (1)....   [tags: Biology Essays Research Papers]

Free Essays
746 words (2.1 pages)