18 Oct What Happens To The Brain During Addiction?
The brain is considered the most important organ in our body. Where others can be replaced or removed, the brain is the center of operations for all our thinking and voluntary functions. In fact, harm to the brain can cause serious physical repercussions and mental illnesses like depression and anxiety which in turn can seriously affect the body.
Once the brain is damaged, not much can be done to fix it. For that reason, keeping it healthy is an important part of maintaining physical and mental health. While many think addiction stems from a lack of morals or self-control, they could not be farther from the truth.
By some definitions, people are just extensions of their neural systems. Because of this, illnesses of the brain can come to control the person’s personality and actions in irrational ways. When a person is suffering from addiction, their brain is the source of this issue. This can make it extremely difficult to practice self-control.
Alcohol and drug addiction are complex issues and should be treated as such. Drugs and brain chemistry have a difficult relationship. While drugs can improve brain chemistry and offer solutions to certain problems, they can also lead to negative repercussions.
For people suffering from severe pain, opioids can be a valuable treatment. By binding to receptors in the brain, opioids control what the person feels. They block pain and induce euphoria, which makes solves one problem but can create addiction.
In a similar way, alcohol affects the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain to slow down certain functions and increase dopamine release. This makes the person sluggish while simultaneously making them feel happy or relaxed.
This makes the person associate drugs and alcohol with feelings of happiness or comfort. They might seek out the drug while increasing how much they take in order to get the same effect. Over time, they might grow to depend on the chemicals to give them relief. When they have to go without these drugs, then the withdrawal avoidance cycle comes into play.
Dealing with addiction is a long road, and is generally not a pleasant one. However, with proper care and support, the person can find recovery and begin leading a healthier and more fulfilling life.
Addiction recovery starts when the person goes through detox, which involves going through withdrawal. Medical care can smooth this process and make it less uncomfortable. Once they are sober, the person and their brain can begin recovering. They can learn coping methods to deal with their addiction and begin solving the underlying issues.
Without the secondary motivation to find their next dose of drugs or alcohol, they can focus on what really matters to them. Familial relationships, their careers, and even strong friendships are all motivators for people to stay sober.
Drug rehabilitation centers offer a stable, safe environment for these people. The facilities are staffed with trained medical professionals as well as psychiatrists and most offer recreational activities for those recovering. If you think you or a loved one might need help overcoming an addiction, consider searching your area for reputable rehab centers.