By Staff Writer
Individuals who fail to seek drug rehab for cocaine addictions may be putting their mental health at risk. A new study from University of Pittsburgh researchers shows that the drug can affect many parts of a person’s cognitive ability.
The researchers reported in the Journal of Neuroscience that doctors have long known about the association between cocaine addiction and cognitive impairments, including decreased memory and difficulty adapting to new situations. However, medical professionals did not know if the drug caused these problems or if addicts had cognitive impairments before they started using the drug.
For the study, they examined the effects of cocaine on a group of laboratory monkeys. The results showed that animals given cocaine had a much more difficult time learning new rules for certain test. The researchers said that this shows the subjects had a harder time maintaining concentration and had lower executive function.
The findings provide some of the first proof that cocaine use can directly cause cognitive deficits. Given the fact that the substance can also cause a number of other health problems, addicts may benefit from drug rehab treatment.