Cocaine Addiction

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It is hard to get rid of cocaine habits. Cocaine assaults the pleasure centers in our brain and produces a buzz, a rush, and euphoria. Cocaine also suppresses activity of our brain cortex making it impossible to think logically, to ignore cravings and to resist another hit. Then, there are also memory circuits created by cocaine in the brain that encourage a user to consume cocaine whenever he is exposed to sight, smell, and sound of previous usage environment (such as the sight of a crack house, or the company of friends who are users themselves). Cocaine causes a feel-good rush by increasing amounts of the brain chemical dopamine. The brain reacts by cutting back regular dopamine production, making users feel lousy between hits and setting up the cycle of addiction. There is a new drug Alertec (modafinil) that seems to negate the addictive effects of cocaine. Modafinil is a stimulant used in narcolepsy. Modafinil seems to affect chemicals that in turn regulate dopamine production, a different pathway than cocaine takes in altering normal dopamine, and thus one that might counter it. Modafinil increases the activity in the prefrontal cortex, the brain's decision-making command center and the spot that allows reasoning to override impulse or emotion. Used once a day, modafinil blocks the high induced by cocaine. Modafinil also triggers something in the brain to also improve patients' mood, energy levels and ability to concentrate — effects that might counter cocaine withdrawal.