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NIDA Notes Articles: Cocaine

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Why Take a Drug That No Longer Gives Pleasure?

September 2015

In mice, a cocaine-induced imbalance in the activity of two key populations of neurons in the reward system persists for a longer period after repeated exposure to the drug. For long-term users, this change could both weaken the cocaine “high” and strengthen the compulsion to seek the drug.

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Why Do People Lose Control Over Their Cocaine Use?

September 2016

Researchers monitored the activity of two types of neurons in mice: “urge” neurons, which promote feelings of reward and repeating behaviors that have produced rewards, and “control” neurons, which dampen those feelings and inhibit behavior.

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Waletzky Memorial Award Winners’ Lectures at NIDA Illuminate Cocaine’s Many Effects on Brain Structure, Circuitry

January 2015

Dr. Paul E. M. Phillips spoke on “Phasic Dopamine Transmission During Substance Abuse,” describing investigations that he has led into the role of brief, seconds-long bursts of dopamine signaling in addictive processes. Dr. Rita Z. Goldstein spoke on “Targeting the Brain, Cognition, and Motivation for Intervention in Addiction.”

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United States Ranks First in Lifetime Use of Three Drugs

November 2009

Highlights the disproportionately high rate of Americans who have used cocaine at some time during their lives as compared with other nations surveyed.

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Tobacco Smokers Have High Probability of Transition to Dependence

April 2012

First-time smokers have a much higher chance of eventually becoming dependent than first-time users alcohol, cannabis, and cocaine.

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Testing a Prospective Medication To Help People Avoid Relapse

March 2016

This NIDA Notes animation depicts a basic experiment that researchers use to test whether a prospective new medication can prevent relapse to drug addiction.

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Test Substance Attenuates Signs of Cocaine Withdrawal in Rats

December 2009

Reports on several drugs that may ward off depression and anxiety, common withdrawal symptoms from cocaine, based on an animal study.

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Study Ranks Recovery Assets in Cocaine Addiction

July 2015

A can-do attitude, ability to cope with potential triggers for drug use, readiness to change, and participation in self-help programs are major assets for people trying to recover from cocaine addiction.

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Study Pinpoints Cognitive Deficits Due to Cocaine, Finds Potential for Recovery

August 2013

New research demonstrated that, in rhesus monkeys, ongoing cocaine exposure weakens two brain functions that people require for successful behavioral change: cognitive flexibility and memory. But the study determined that these changes may not be permanent.

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Stroop Test Identifies Patients at Risk for Treatment Dropout

April 2010
Reports on a study of cocaine abusers revealing that the Stroop test may predict which cocaine abusers are likely to drop out of therapy.

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