Thursday, June 12, 2008

Stress Increases Cocaine Addiction

ScienceDaily (Nov. 6, 2007) — According to the Trimbos Institute, anyone who sniffs cocaine once has a 15 to 20% likelihood of becoming addicted to this hard drug. Why does the recreational user only try it once whereas another person becomes physically and mentally dependent on the drug? Behavioural Pharmacologist Inge de Jong, attached to the LUMC (Leiden University Medical Center) and the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, sought an explanation in the effect of stress hormones.

The nervous smoker

‘Experience has shown that stress can lead to addiction,’ de Jong says. ‘Take the example of a smoker: he will light a cigarette immediately when he gets nervous. We still don’t understand the physical mechanisms by which stress contributes to the development of an addiction. Certainly for such a highly addictive substance as cocaine, which has adverse effects on health, on the ability to function in society and on criminal behaviour, it is especially important to gain a better understanding of how these mechanisms work. This may enable us to cure people of their addiction,or even better, to intervene preventively.’


How does a person become addicted to cocaine? The more frequently an individual uses the drug, the greater the desire for it becomes, and certain physical reactions also become increasingly stronger. This effect is called sensitisation. De Jong examined how sensitisation is affected by two hormones which are produced by the adrenal glands: adrenaline and corticosterone. She also investigated whether this relation is dependent on the individual’s genetic code. ‘Certain people are by nature more sensitive than others to developing an addiction,’ according to De Jong.

Click here to read entire article at Science

No comments: