Cocaine is a stimulant drug that speeds up the message travelling between the brain and the rest of the body. There is no safe minimum level to use this drug and there is always a risk attached with it. People taking cocaine experience extreme levels of happiness and confidence, increased sex drive, don’t feel pain, display aggressive behavior, their actions are greatly unpredictable, experience increased physical strength, talk more and have reduced appetite. When the use of cocaine becomes an addiction it results in insomnia, depression, anxiety, sexual dysfunction, heart disease, death, hypertension and exhaustion. While it is extremely difficult to give up drug addiction some people do come out of it and get to experience the goodness of life. By the time it becomes an addiction the body and its functioning are so used to the drug that there is some kind of a challenge now to overcome this. There are many centers that cater to the needs of cocaine-addicted individuals helping them recover from this addiction and help them lead normal lives without going back to cocaine lifelong. But before withdrawal is successful the individual goes through different symptoms right from depression, irritation, restlessness, tiredness and craving to extreme anger, anxiety and an inability to feel pleasure. Despite such reactions and the person getting off the addiction cycle, cocaine addiction is usually characterized by cycles of recovery and relapse. Relapse is generally due to stress and negative emotions that are usually signs of withdrawal too.
Promising Role of Exercise
There are animal studies that show that regular swimming reduces morphine consumption in opioid-dependent rats and access to an exercise wheel also reduces self-administration of cocaine in rats dependent on the drug. Exercise has the potential to alter behavioral and physiological responses to stress. Animal studies show that regular aerobic exercise such as working out on the treadmill for an hour five times a week decreased stress-induced cocaine-seeking behavior.
Cocaine addiction alters the body’s neural, physiological and behavioral responses to stress. There have also been promising study results on how exercise has the ability to alter the brain’s mesolimbic dopamine pathway that is linked to the rewarding and reinforcing properties of drugs such as cocaine.
There is even a small study on humans relating the benefits of exercising with substance intake where 38 men and women taking different drugs participated in group exercise thrice a week for two to six months. After the study period five of them totally refrained from using the drug whereas 10 reported that they had reduced their substance intake to a great extent. Physicians too give a green signal to exercising as a way to distract the user from resorting to drugs.
In general, we have solid evidence that exercise helps to reduce stress and anxiety, elevate mood levels, increase happiness and bring on a sense of calm. Exercising helps in forming social connections, makes people stave off depression and anxiety and of course, keeps us healthy. For more benefits on exercising, www.firsteatright.com is the best place for you! Cardio workouts are a great solution to fight against health problems such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and blood pressure apart from improving mental health of individuals.
So, evidences do show positive hints that exercise might help alleviate drug addiction and doing your part of aerobic exercise could be a tool against addiction relapse. Treatment in the form of exercising could be given to take care of cocaine addiction but if you think the same holds good for other drugs too we can only keep our fingers crossed with the hope that researches do show promising results in the case of other addictive drugs.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.