Monday, August 22, 2011

Cocaine And Brain Damage

Cocaine Users Show Catastrophically Impaired Brain Function
By: John Brown's Bones
An Intracerebral Hemorrhage in a cocaine addict's brain.
An autopsied cocaine user's brain* reveals severe damage to the neocortex - the center of logic.

An intracerebral hemorrhage, like a bullet made out of cocaine is a hole in a cocaine user's brain. It appears like an exit wound from a .38. Cocaine related brain damage (like all internal organ damage) is difficult to detect in drug addicts, usually due to a typical lack of access to medical care such as CAT scans, but it's symptoms are very clearly revealed in an average cocaine addict's behavior caused by the physical damage, i.e. deep brain tissue damage that remains hidden underneath the skull.

Impairment centers around the logic center of the human brain, the neocortex. A primary indicator of this dysfunction is severely limited speech. For example: an uncontrollable repetition of simple words or phrases, severe language impairment (beginning with receptive aphasia and developing into expressive aphasia) or a pronounced inability to perform simple tasks of logic such as inability to grasp the consequence of actions or grasp meaning.

Many brain damaged individuals display two vastly polarized states of awareness alternating from an almost deadened awareness of the world around them coupled with an extreme incapacity to comprehend surroundings this is followed by a desperate need to "rationalize" events i.e. paranoid or dramatically fearful, or delusional behavior. This is the brain's attempt to piece together a world at a dramatically lowered capacity. The brain attempts to create an alternative and irrational version of the world which is only faintly perceived by it's own severely reduced capacity to reason.

Each of these conditions, catatonic states, extreme irrationality, marked paranoia, inability to communicate meaningfully and the inability to reason results in the construction of an alternate, irrational reality existing completely apart from empirical facts, constitute the behavioral results of drug inflicted brain damage. This is cocaine induced psychotic dementia.

A Cerebral Infarction is basically a stroke.
A Cerebral Infarction, shown above*, is basically an intelligence draining stroke.

Often, the brain damage that causes this behavior starts with small lesions that develop on the surface of the brain and then continue to bore into the brain as the cocaine addict continues usage of the drug. With prolonged usage the drug user takes on Alzheimer's like symptoms and becomes completely unable to function in society with any degree of competence.

References:
Wikipedia, Intercerebral Hemorrhage
Wikipedia, Cerebral Infarction
NIDA, National Institute For Drug Awareness


* = All images appearing in this post are part of a ground-breaking study from 1999 at the State University of Campinas in Brazil conducted by Silvia Helena Cardoso and Renato M.E. Sabbatini.