Why cocaine turns people… [socially inept], a simple explanation

A single dose of coke—so a bump, or a little line—can impair your ability to recognize negative emotions in other people, which is why you’re under the impression everyone is eternally interested in what you have to say, when, really, they are not.

“[Cocaine]… targets three psychological mechanisms in your brain. With cocaine, you’re effectively buzzing off the chemical dopamine flooding your brain every time you take a bump. Dopamine is not pleasure itself, but a mechanism in the brain that allows for learning. [Secondly] cocaine influences your pre-frontal cortex [the part of your brain that regulates behaviors and, essentially, your ability to make sound judgements. It actually messes up your executive functions, your inhibitory control, and your decision making. So now you’ve got this very strong motivation [from the dopamine] and, because of the effects of the drug, you end up with an inability to inhibit your impulses and make good decisions. [And thirdly, cocaine]… facilitate habits, so at this point your impulses are full of motivation for the drug, and they reach your habit system and you just do it without thinking about it, necessarily [referring to how moreish cocaine can be.] Also, with cocaine, there’s no real physical withdrawal, but there’s a strong psychological withdrawal. You feel anxious, you feel bad, so that adds to the motivation to continue taking the drug. -David Belin, Department of Pharmacology, Cambridge University

Original Article (Vice):
Why cocaine turns people into jerks, a simple explanation
Artwork Fair Use: Paul Gauguin