It takes a little bit of ‘gear’ to turn an absolutely nice person into a complete nightmare. They start imposing their excessive attitude and behavior on you; they start doing things that you may detest without them even noticing that you do.
It’s not that everybody does, but many people under the effects of cocaine turn into complete dicks in a very short time.
These people become dominant, self-obsessed, and arrogant; they don’t seem to notice your efforts to get away from them and will do everything to be in the spotlight.
So why does this happen? The chemistry behind cocaine and its effects on the brain create a very particular pattern that creates this effect. As David Belin, from the Department of Pharmacology at Cambridge University, explains for the Vice, “Drugs target three psychological mechanisms in your brain.”
With cocaine, a large quantity of dopamine is being released every time you have some.
Dopamine controls the brain’s reward and pleasure centers in the brain, releasing a feeling of thrill and excitement. This neurotransmitter can be triggered by many different circumstances.
Cocaine targets your brain in a way that dopamine is released all the time you take it and this feeling makes you start building great motivation for the drug.
Although cocaine itself doesn’t create any physical dependency, the amounts of dopamine that are being produced are the main reason for cocaine addiction. In other words, addiction comes on a psychological level.
Cocaine and the pre-frontal cortex
A characteristic specific to the effects of cocaine is its influence on your pre-frontal cortex. This is the part of your brain that is responsible for the regulation of behavior and your ability to make sound judgements.
David Belin says that “it actually messes up your executive functions, your inhibitory control and your decision making.” In combination with the very strong motivation from the dopamine, “you end up with an inability to inhibit your impulses and make good decisions.”
A study done by Maastricht University in the Netherlands has found that cocaine can easily impair your ability to recognize negative emotions in other people. This is why people under the effects of cocaine think that everyone is highly interested in what they say, even if they are not.
Drugs and habits
“Drugs facilitate habits, so at this point your impulses are full of motivation for the drug, and they reach your habit system and you just do it without thinking about it, necessarily,” says David.
Here’s where the tricky part about addiction comes: It’s not that there is physical withdrawal with cocaine, but the psychological withdrawal is very strong. It involves feelings of anxiety, and feeling bad, so these contribute to the motivation to continue taking the drug.
Mixing cocaine with alcohol can further enhance or inhibit the urges. In fact, while someone may tell you that cocaine will ‘sober you up’, the truth is that it doesn’t.
According to David, it creates a new potent combination called cocaethylene, which lowers your general inhibitory tone. Under the effect, “you give in to impulses you wouldn’t normally.”
Want more and more?
Although you may start using it recreationally, like once in two months, you need to be careful not to make it into habit. If you get to that moment where your going out correlates to taking coke, then you should start thinking whether it’s really just for fun.
David sets out a clear warning you need to pay attention to: “Do you really want it, or do you end up in this mood with friends and take it without really wanting it? If it’s the latter, it suggests you are losing control. It’s a reflex. It’s the moment, the mindset.”
Perhaps you should try going out and agree that it’s going to be a cocaine-free night. “If you can’t make it through the evening, you may be on the wrong side of the story.”
Source: The Vice