Many troubled teens and troubled young adults fall into a pattern of substance abuse, but when it comes to cocaine and amphetamines, not much thought is given to what it is actually doing to their bodies.
It may seem harmless to those who are using, but both of these drugs are highly addictive and interfere with proper brain functioning and brain development. For parents, such use is a huge cause for concern.
How Cocaine and Amphetamines Affect Brain Functioning
On a technical level, cocaine and amphetamines provide their high by prompting a release of dopamine and norepinephrine (neurotransmitters) from the nerve endings (synapses), causing a disruption in the electrical impulses that make the brain work. This disruption temporarily causes a euphoric feeling and an increased sense of alertness, but unfortunately, by inhibiting dopamine transporter and normal brain signaling, your brain is basically misfiring at every turn. In moderation, amphetamines used in the form of anti-depressants and in medications for conditions such as ADD/ADHD and narcolepsy can be a positive thing, but this isn’t the case for those abusing the drugs.
More insight into how brain functioning is altered by the use of amphetamines and cocaine was recently revealed through research from Oregon Health & Science University’s Vollum Institute. Their recent research, run through the lab headed by senior scientist Eric Gouaux, Ph.D., and published in the latest issue of Nature, gave new insight into the way the never endings communicate with each other. As a result, researchers are hopeful that they can find a way to cure cocaine and amphetamine addictions, but as of now, no cure exists.