Drugs like alcohol, heroin, cocaine, and synthetic opioids all have one thing in common: they’re chemicals. Chemicals change the way that your central nervous system and brain operate. Learning how drugs affect the brain can be an eye-opening experience. It’s also scary to realize that some of the effects may not be as easy to reverse as others.
Why Do People Use Drugs?
What causes people to spend money on substances that slowly kill them? Why risk the danger of an overdose, unknown ingredients, and iffy purity? The reason why people use drugs and suffer from drug dependence has to do with the chemical reactions they cause. Typically, they affect the brain’s neurotransmitters.
In particular, they cause the reward center to flood the system with dopamine, which creates feelings of well-being. When this brain chemical creates a glut in the central nervous system, it results in moments of euphoria. Typically, you have to coax the dopamine from your brain’s reward center by exercising, laughing, or engaging in other activities. Drugs let you pop a pill, take a shot, or snort a line for a more powerful result.
How Drugs Affect the Brain in the Long Run
There comes a time when the chemicals in the drugs re-write the brain’s chemistry. Cocaine, in particular, is notorious for doing so quickly. The brain becomes dependent on the influx of chemicals to release dopamine. Without the drug present in your system, you might suffer from deepening feelings of depression and anxiety.
Other withdrawal symptoms are more physical in nature. They signal that the central nervous system is operating without the chemicals. To regain equilibrium, you reach for another dose. But over time, you may find that you’ll need more to feel the same effect.
Your body builds up a tolerance to the drug you’re taking. With opioids, you might reach this stage at the two-month mark. To achieve a similar reaction, you need to increase the dose. Your regular fix fails to trigger the targeted brain cells, which makes it more difficult to trigger dopamine release.
If you continue on this path, you’ll eventually reach a point when chemical influxes lead to brain damage. Case in point is the tampering with glutamate, a neurotransmitter which assists with cognitive functions. You suffer from memory loss and become unable to process information the way you used to.
Overcoming How Drugs Affect the Brain with Rehab
Now that you know how drugs affect the brain, understand that reversing many of these changes is possible. Professional addiction treatment helps you regain physical and psychological equilibrium. Effective approaches include:
- Medical care during the detoxification process that breaks the physical dependence
- Psychological and psychiatric care that helps you understand the mechanics that led to your addiction in the first place
- High-quality clinical care that provides you with the tools needed to prevent a relapse in the future
- Holistic care underscores the connectivity between your mind and body
- Dietary education assists with your new found goals of healthy living
At Ashley Addiction Treatment in Havre de Grace, Maryland, we offer life-changing substance abuse programs to help you start living a better life. Don’t subject your health to another day of substance abuse. Find real help and answers by dialing 866-313-6307 today.