The Physiological Effects of Cocaine in the Neurosystem

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Cocaine abuse and dependence affected 1.4 million Americans in 2008 (Volkow, 2010). Cocaine is known for its addictive properties (Letchworth et al., 2001). Therapeutic and medicinal techniques utilized to relieve drug effects and drug seeking behavior have become increasingly popular in the scientific community. In general the affected areas during or after cocaine use have been identified subsequently providing research into the physiological aspects of cocaine use. Research to determine drug-seeking and relapse is imperative due to the prevalence of cocaine use and the rehabilitative qualities a medicinal cure could provide. Brief Review of Cocaine Cocaine is a Schedule II drug, known for its addictive properties and permissive medicinal administration. Cocaine exists in two forms: water soluble and insoluble; these forms can enter the bloodstream by mechanism of oral ingestion, intravenous injection, inhalation, and intranasal inhalation (Volkow, 2010). Cocaine is a stimulus, therefore the use of cocaine stimulates the para-sympathetic nervous system, exciting physiological reactions, but also creating a sense of euphoria resulting from an increase in dopamine activity (Barlow & Durand, 2012). Cocaine is effective in stimulating euphoria because of the dopamine agonists properties it possesses (Carlson, 2013). Mechanism: How does cocaine work? Action potentials in neurons are facilitated by neurotransmitters released from the terminal button of the presynaptic neuron into the synaptic gap where the neurotransmitter binds with receptor sites on the postsynaptic neuron. Dopamine (DA) is released into the synaptic gap exciting the neighboring neuron, and is then reabsorbed into the neuron of origin through dopamine transporter... ... middle of paper ... ...ional Medical Association, 97(11), 1504-1515. (Nnadi et al., 2005). Peters, J., LaLumiere, R.T., Kalivas, P.W. (2008). Infralimbic prefrontal cortex is responsible for inhibiting cocaine seeking in extinguished rats. Journal of Neuroscience, 28(23), 6046-6053. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1045-08.2008. (Peters et al., 2008). Porrino, L.J., Smith, H.R. Nader, M.A., Beveridge, T.J.R. (2007). The effects of cocaine: A shifting target over the course of addiction. Prog Nueropsychopharmocol Biol Psychiatry, 31(8), 1593-1600. (Porrine et al., 2007). Quintero, G. (2013). Role of nucleus accumben glutamateric plasticity in drug addiction. Nueropsychriatric Disease and Treatment, 9, 1499-1512. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S45963. (Quintero, 2013). Volkow, N.D. (2010). Research report series: Cocaine abuse and addiction. National Institue on Drug Abuse, NIH publication 10-4166. (Volkow, 2010).

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