All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Thursday, September 02, 2010

You can't get it back, cocaine...

Came across this interesting article in the NY Times. It's about cocaine addiction, and why it's so hard to kick, even when the drug is no longer enjoyable to the user.

Turns out, addictive drugs like cocaine affect not only the reward circuits of the brain, but also learning and memory. They create deep associations in the user's mind, so that people, places, and situations they associate with using drugs, even unconsciously, can kick off an intense craving. This is why people who have been sober for months, years, even decades, can suddenly fall off the wagon.

Where you are and what you are doing when you use a drug like cocaine is inextricably linked with the high. And these associations are stored not just in your conscious memory, but also in memory circuits outside your awareness.

This kind of pathologic learning lies at the heart of compulsive drug use. Long after someone has apparently kicked the habit, long after withdrawal symptoms subside, the individual is vulnerable to these deeply encoded unconscious associations that can set off a craving, seemingly out of the blue.

And that's not all. Cocaine causes changes in the brain, so that the usual pleasures of life don't seem as pleasurable. These changes may be permanent.

Although he has been cocaine-free for nearly two years, he feels life is lackluster and little excites him. And that experience is consistent with recent evidence that the effects of drugs like cocaine can endure long after use has ended.

...With years of abuse, he could have lost enough dopamine transporters that his own reward circuit would become dulled to everyday pleasures. After all, to most brains a fine dinner with friends or a beautiful sunset is no match for the euphoria of cocaine.

I guess that explains why Josh Hamilton came so close to losing everything - wife, children, life, major league career - for cocaine. As much as anything can, anyway,


posted by BubbaFan, 11:46 PM


Thanks for posting this...I am involved in some drug counseling and find folks falling back into it over and over again. It is sad to see so many feeling so powerlessly drawn back into the very thing they know is destroying them. Reason and arguments and threats of loss dont' help. Thankfully I've seen folks delivered as well. I hope Josh can forever remain in the category of delivered!
commented by Blogger Jim, September 06, 2010 10:29 AM  

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