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a doctor discusses the connection between stress and cocaine relapse with a patient

Stress Tends to Play a Part in Cocaine Relapse

The life of drug use can be challenging. However, trying to abandon that life can be equally tricky. It takes the help of an addiction treatment center, such as Promises Behavioral Health to begin the journey to recovery. But what happens after you’ve started down the path to sobriety? For some, stress and cocaine relapse come quickly. In such cases, returning to treatment may be the necessary next step. To learn more about your treatment options, contact Promises Behavioral Health today. 

What is the Connection Between Stress and Cocaine Relapse?

Is it possible that stress can lead to cocaine abuse or is it the other way around? According to the results in recent mouse studies, the stress-evoked changes in circuits that regulate serotonin in certain parts of the brain can precipitate a low mood and a relapse in cocaine-seeking.

Science Daily recently published a release that examined the findings of this study. “The impetus for this research was our interest in how stress alters the brain’s cell receptors and protein signals in ways that lead to mood changes, depression, anxiety, and drug-seeking,” said Dr. Michael Bruchas, acting instructor of pharmacology at the University of Washington (UW). The senior author was Dr. Charles Chavkin, the Allan and Phyllis Treuer Professor of Pharmacology and director of the UW Center for Drug Addiction Research.

What Does The Study Indicate Between Stress and Cocaine Relapse?

This team of researchers explained that the dynorphin/kappa opioid system that is found in certain brain cells can be activated either through repeated stress or by giving a chemical that triggers a receptor on the cells. When this system is activated, it creates a conditioned place aversion in mice. As a result, the mice tend to want to avoid smells, locations or tactile sensations that are similar to those present during a troubling experience.

Additional research suggests that this response is mediated by the stress-evoked release of dynorphins, which are considered to be the “feel bad” brain signals. “Stress appears to be a motivator for the relapse in drug-seeking,” said one of the study authors. “They feel crummy so they go where there might be something that will make them feel okay again. They head to a spot that had the drug available in the past, an action researchers call cocaine place preference.”

What Type of Treatment Should You Be Looking For?

When it comes down to the connection between stress and cocaine relapse, the next step is to seek the appropriate treatment. At Promises Behavioral Health, our goal is to help each person who needs treatment get the care that they need. For some, this may mean dual diagnosis treatment. This treatment is a method that treatment professionals use to help people who suffer from both addiction and mental health issues. It is critical to get this type of treatment if you suffer from both problems. Otherwise, the stress of the untreated problem may lead you to relapse. We offer treatments for many types of mental illnesses, including:

You need the best possible care for you to overcome cocaine abuse for good. At Promises Behavioral Health, we can give you the tools you need to handle stress and cocaine relapse. Through a combination of holistic and evidence-based therapies, you can use these tools we give you. These skills can allow you to manage your addiction, mental illness, and stress all at the same time. To learn more about what our cocaine addiction program has to offer for you, or to enroll in treatment, contact Promises Behavioral Health today at 844.875.5609.

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