The neuropsychiatry of chronic cocaine abuse

J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. Summer 1998;10(3):280-9. doi: 10.1176/jnp.10.3.280.


This review integrates findings from neuropsychological, PET, and MRI studies in human subjects and neurochemical findings in animals to make inferences about neuropsychiatric consequences of chronic abuse of cocaine. It also aims to develop insights into brain-behavioral relationships that may explain the perpetuation of addictive behaviors. Such insights promise to lead to a better understanding of the neuropsychiatry of cocaine abuse and to promote the development of more efficacious treatments. The authors present evidence suggesting that cocaine abusers have specific dysfunction of executive functions (decision making, judgment) and that this behavior is associated with dysfunction of specific prefrontal brain regions, the orbitofrontal cortex, and anterior cingulate gyrus. Suggestions for future research and treatment are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cocaine / adverse effects*
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Crack Cocaine / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed


  • Crack Cocaine
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Cocaine