Ritalin may cure cocaine addiction. A study conducted by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York City, has shown that Ritalin may interrupt the addiction cycle.
Researchers found that the stimulant drug methylphenidate can stabilize out-of-control neural pathways, which contribute to cocaine addition. Studies have concluded that as little as one dose can normalize brain functioning.
Ritalin is a brand of menthylphenidate. It most widely prescribed to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children and adults.
As reported by CBS News, Ritalin may help cure cocaine addiction. Dr. Rita Goldstein, professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine, explains that the findings may assist with treating other addictions as well.
Cocaine usage floods the brain with dopamine. Dopamine controls pleasure responses, which encourage continued use. As users build up a resistance to the drug, more and more is needed to gain the expected response.
The results of Goldstein's study reveal that Ritalin may cure cocaine addiction when used as a replacement therapy. Goldstein admits that more research is necessary. However, she theorizes that Ritalin, as a cocaine replacement, may have the same benefits as methadone for recovering heroine addicts.
As reported by PsychCentral.com, Dr. Goldstein explains how it might work:
“Orally administered methylphenidate increases dopamine in the brain, similar to cocaine, but without the strong addictive properties."
The study subjects were given a dose of methylphenidate. Doctors performed brains scans to study the effects of the medication:
“Using fMRI, we found that methylphenidate did indeed have a beneficial impact on the connectivity between several brain centers associated with addiction.”
Cocaine is derived from the coco plant. While cocaine may not be the most addictive street drug, it is one of the most dangerous. Dr. Goldstein explains that in 2009, cocaine use accounted for more than 400,000 emergency room visits.
Ritalin may cure cocaine addiction. However, it may be years before its beneficial use and effectiveness are confirmed. Doctors are cautiously optimistic that they may have found a way to help people overcome a dangerous addiction.
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