Alcohol Use Ups Risk of Cocaine Addiction

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Alcohol Use Ups Risk of Cocaine Addiction


Drinking alcohol may make you more vulnerable to cocaine addiction, according to a new rat study published on Science Advances.

When rats were primed with alcohol every day for nearly two weeks, they experienced significant chemical changes in their brains that could make them more susceptible to cocaine dependency, according to the researchers. In fact, they engaged in drug-seeking behavior with such resolve that they were barely discouraged by electric shocks.

Alcohol and cigarettes are both known ‘gateway’ substances to stronger drugs, but the researchers in this study questioned what causes these gateway drugs to lead to cocaine addiction. According to experts, roughly 21 percent of those who use cocaine occasionally wind up taking the drug compulsively.

“Our study helps us to understand how an early exposure to something like alcohol can actually tip the balance and increase a person’s ability to develop addiction,” said study author Dr. Edmund Griffin, an assistant professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University.

While the study was done on rats, not people – diminishing the significance of the findings – the message remains an important one, say experts. And it’s this: Adolescent drinking and smoking may cause lasting brain changes that increase your chances of addiction later in life.

Spotting the Signs of Cocaine Use
If you suspect cocaine abuse by someone you love, watch for the following:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Runny nose
  • Nosebleeds
  • Track marks
  • Burned lips or fingers
  • Mood swings
  • Extreme happiness and energy
  • Aggressiveness
  • Paranoia
  • Distrustful of other’s intentions
  • Antagonistic behaviors towards others
  • Defensiveness
  • Changes in sleep

Getting Help for Cocaine Addiction
An addiction to cocaine impacts all aspects of your life, including your health, relationships, career and savings. To learn more about our addiction treatment services, contact us today: (888) 223-0298.