Solving the Problem of Cocaine Addiction


Prof. Luigi Gallimberti

DATE: 5th September 2018 
TIME: 9:00 -10:00 am
LOCATION: Centro Linguistico di Ateneo, UniPd

“Solving the Problem of Cocaine Addiction”
Luigi Gallimberti
Critical evaluation of the results obtained after five years of rTMS treatment in cocaine patients.Cocaine users worldwide are about 22.81. Our team started a trial treatment on 16 patients treatedwith rTMS, obtaining good results2. News of the good outcome spread both in the scientificcommunity and publicly. The number of rTMS patients increased year after year. The rTMS treatment protocol was modified and improved and so did the results. Our treatment started to arouse great interest from the media, but we needed solid scientific data.In 2017, National Geographic 3 and Science4 magazines were keen to do front cover articles about our work, and we obtained immediate worldwide recognition. Nevertheless, we didn’t have strong scientific data to confirm the success we had noticed empirically and through numerous case studies. These data have been recently obtained. By 2017 we reached a total number of about 600 patients treated with rTMS from 2015 to 2018, about 500 of them were cocaine-addicted patients. By looking carefully at all our patients, day by
day, and noticing how they reacted to the different treatments, we had confirmation that all the patients had a «brain disease» named «cocaine addiction» (CUD) and therefore
all the patients
needed rTMS. We observed, however, that there was a subgroup of patients that didn’t show a good outcome because of their underlying mental comorbidity (depression, anxiety, phychosis, etc).
We observed furthermore that increasing the number of rTMS stimulation in this subgroup wasn’t an efficient solution, as they needed cocaine to “defend” themselves from the sufferance of psychological problems. We realized that we needed to establish a collaboration with some trustworthy psychoanalysts in order to improve our diagnostic precision and our ability to offer the
best-suited treatment program, since rTMS treatment takes great advantage from being associated with an individualized psychotherapeutic treatment. After a few months we found indeed that this subgroup reacted positively to the combined therapy. In these cases, there is no point in treating
the brain separately from the mind. The construction of the bridge was completed. Some data on 226 CUD patients observed for more than two years will be presented.

2 Terraneo, A., Leggio, L., Saladini, M., Ermani, M., Bonci, A., & Gallimberti, L. (2016). Transcranial magnetic
stimulation of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex reduces cocaine use: a pilot study.
, 26(1), 37-44