Why Is Cocaine So Addictive?

Cocaine - Lakehouse Recovery Center








Cocaine Is Very Addictive

Cocaine is a highly addictive drug and the model for most neurobiological studies on how addiction works in the brain. A stimulant and an amphetamine, cocaine is a central nervous system drug which impacts the brain and the body more powerfully than other substances. Creating an intense high of euphoria along with feelings of power and invincibility, the memory associations of cocaine are immediate. After a few uses, the brain begins to crave cocaine and the sensations it produces.

New research suggests that cocaine may have addictive qualities to people who aren’t even dependent on the drug. Simply put, once you consume cocaine, even without becoming addicted to it, you will experience a form of cravings within the brain in response to cocaine cues.

As reported by Science Daily, brain imaging research conducted by McGill University found that “Even among non-dependent cocaine users, cues associated with consumption of the drug lead to dopamine release in an area of the brain thought to promote compulsive use.” Prompted with varying cues of cocaine and cocaine use, the brain reacts with the release of dopamine.

Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for creating all the pleasurable sensations caused by cocaine and other mind altering substances. In the neurobiology model of addiction and relapse, dopamine is what sets the brain off in its cravings, plays a part in developing tolerance, and becomes chemically dependent upon cocaine or other drugs for production.

Relapse Prevention

Learning about relapse and relapse prevention, we come to understand that spending too much time thinking about drugs and alcohol, technically called “euphoric recall” eventually stimulates dopamine production. As a result, the entire process of cravings begins, because the brain actually begins to think it has already consumed its drug of choice.

Now, according to the research, it is understood that this phenomena can happen to people who aren’t even addicted.

However, the area of the brain affected which is believed to contribute to compulsive behaviors, could lead to prompted cocaine use repeatedly, eventually leading to an addiction problem.

Though cocaine is highly addictive and can be highly life-threatening, recovery from cocaine addiction is possible. Depending on the severity of drug use, detox may be necessary for cleaning the body of cocaine related toxins. With long term treatment and a structured lifestyle of recovery, lifelong abstinence from cocaine can happen.


Lakehouse Recovery Center offers private residential treatment for detox and inpatient programs in addition to a twelve month after care program. Bringing healing and recovery to life, our programs seek to show clients how to have fun again without mind altering substances. For more information or to schedule a private tour, call us today at  877.762.3707.


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