Cocaine Use Shown to Change the Structure of the Brain

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As discussed by addiction specialists from Sunset Malibu, studies at the University of California show that cocaine use effects the brain in more ways than previously thought.

Drug Treatment Center Malibu

Drug Treatment Center, Malibu

As we gain a clearer understanding of how the brain develops and changes because of drug use, we can develop improved ways of treating addiction.

In a series of experiments conducted on mice by researchers at the University of California, it was substantiated that the areas of the brain associated with learning and memory literally grew in response to cocaine use. These experiments demonstrate how the mechanism that triggers drug-seeking behavior is developed by continued drug use. Understanding this can transform drug and depression treatment.

“This research is very exciting because it validates similar research coming from other institutions, such as McGill University in Canada,” said Dr. Damon Raskin, addiction specialist at a Malibu drug detox center. “As we gain a clearer understanding of how the brain develops and changes because of drug use, we can develop improved ways of treating addiction.”

“I spoke about this very issue at the Jerusalem International Conference on Neuroplasticity and Cognitive Modifiability this summer,” said Constance Scharff, PhD. “Because of advances in technology, we are now able to see in living [mice] subjects, how the brain changes its structure when an individual uses drugs. Addiction isn’t at all about choice; the brain develops neural pathways that reinforce addiction and drug seeking behavior. These changes to the brain seem to be permanent. However, we can use the same principles that cause the brain to reinforce addictive behaviors to create recovery. By using the principles of neuroplasticity, we can help the brain develop what I call a ‘recovery feedback loop.’ In layman’s terms, a change in brain structure can be created using psychotherapy and holistic health therapies, so that recovery, rather than addiction, is reinforced in a person. The original ‘addiction’ structures will still be in place, but so long as the individual uses an abstinence based program of recovery, they will not be triggered and the ‘recovery feedback loop’ is allowed to grow stronger.”

About Sunset Malibu:
Sunset Malibu offers top-notch, holistic care in a private setting with a multitude of treatment options. We specialize in treating individuals suffering from addiction and co-occurring disorders such as depression and anxiety. Sunset Malibu has an exceptional record of helping people overcome their addictions, transforming their lives in a depression treatment center setting. For information about Sunset Malibu’s effective treatments and intervention services, please visit or call 1-800-332-9202, 24 hours a day.

Source: Sunset Malibu
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