Another reason for not using cocaine has been scientifically revealed in a study at Mt. Sinai Hospital in the Icahn School of Medicine recently, and if the results were made public, it would present an extremely good argument for anyone to stop the use of cocaine.
Cocaine users, like other addicts and alcoholics, often experience desperate circumstances such as going to prison, car accidents, losing jobs as well as relationships. The Mount Sinai research showed that cocaine users specifically cause destruction to the circuits in the brain with the use of cocaine. These circuits are responsible for predicting an emotional or significant loss in their lives and is a vital process in humans.
The behavior cocaine affects is based in the learning process in every human’s life. When situations are presented, a healthy person can make a bad decision and learn from the loss they experienced; they do not repeat the same action. This is a conscious decision that leads to building character and making progressively better choices in order to succeed in life.
The study, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, shows that this ability is diminished in cocaine users. The level of impairment would be associated with the level of use for the individual.
The study consisted of 75 adults, 50 cocaine users and 25 healthy adults for comparison. They participated in a gambling game for money, which produced either a gain or loss. Their brain activity was recorded in an EEG, which detected the electrical impulses in the brain’s activity. The test subjects attempted to predict if they would win or lose in each trial exercise.
The actual state of winning or losing has been shown in previous studies to be controlled by dopamine that is produced in the center of the brain. The fluctuating dopamine levels apparently are indicators of an unexpected gain or loss, and for those who indulge in the use of cocaine, this ability is inhibited. This would explain why users experience repeated disasters and trauma without making better decisions to improve.
The fact that cocaine is also an accelerant, it increases the heartbeat, and therefore, the thought patterns, speech, and actions of the user. When using, they are forced to make decisions without the ability or the benefit of being able to rely on this essential learning process. Muhammad Parvez, Ph.D. and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai was the leader of the study, and he concluded, “that people who were addicted to cocaine have impaired loss prediction signaling in the brain.”
The lead researcher, Rita Goldstein, Ph.D., and Chief of Neuropsychoimaging of Addiction and Related Conditions in the Chief of the Brain Imaging Center at Mt. Sinai, stated that this is the first research that proves the association between a cocaine addict and their essential error in the prediction section of the brain. She added that this research could be used further in identifying vulnerability towards original addiction or for a relapse. She also stated that more studies that focus on this behavioral trait may provide significant help in understanding and improving the outcome for many who are caught in this traumatic disorder that includes high numbers of relapsers.”