Substance abuse and the brain

Understanding Substance Abuse And Effects On The Brain

The recreational use of any type of substance, legal or illegal, is done for one purpose, to cause an altered state. People seek different highs for different reasons. What most people do not realize is that regardless of what type of substance they are abusing, they all cause physical changes to the brain.

Identifying The Cause Of The Addiction

When you enter into a drug rehabilitation program, one of the most important parts of the recovery process is addressing the issues that led to the addition. While it is understood the part that the brain plays in developing the addiction, it is also important to address the emotions that led to the substance abuse.

Successful rehabilitation centers will assign a substance abuse counselor to each of their clients. This counselor will work closely with the individual to help them discover why the addiction started. Some of the more common reasons that addictions occur include:

  • A Need Is Filled. The substance may have been used to eliminate pain, generate energy, give confidence or cause relaxation.
  • Social Connection. Your friends were using the drug so you tried. Regardless of what we may say to ourselves, there is always a desire to fit in within a group.
  • Trust. Some people believe that since a medication is a prescription drug that it is safe. Many people justify their addictions to prescription medications by telling themselves if it was not safe that the doctor would not issue the prescription.
  • Escape. Sometimes the issues in a personĂ­s life are too hard to cope with alone. Instead of seeking help, many people turn to self-medicating.

Drug rehab centers must address the initial cause of the addiction if there is going to be a successful treatment for the problem. Once the cause of the addiction is discovered, the rehabilitation center can help the client begin the healing process.

Addiction is a multi-faceted issue. You must be able to address they physical and emotional aspects of the problem. To successfully enter into recovery, the individual with the addiction must understand how the addiction started so that they can prevent relapsing in the future.

Understanding The Change

Substance abuse will change the way that the brain functions on a chemical, hormonal, and physical level. In fact, when a person uses any type of altering substance, the following events occur within your brain:

  • When you use any type of drug or alcohol it hijacks the brain and releases the hormone Dopamine. This is the pleasure hormone. Your brain enjoys the release of this hormone and “records” what you just did to cause the release. The brain then signals a person to use it again to encourage another hormone release.
  • Your brain becomes addicted. Over time, the continual release of Dopamine into the brain becomes a physical necessity. This is how the addiction becomes very real. Your brain now wants to have Dopamine released at all times and your physical and emotional dependence to a substance begins.
  • Your brain now begins to register this substance as a necessity. Over time, your brain will consider this substance as important as food and sleep.
  • Over time, the need for the drug will significantly increase. It will take more drugs, more often to attain the same type of high that your body desires. It will become the leading force in your life and many, if not all, of your decisions will be based around this desire.
  • Your brain uses rationalization to get its way. It will find any way possible to rationalize needing or using this substance. You will be able to convince yourself to do things that you would not necessarily ever have thought of doing so that you can get more drugs or alcohol. You will begin to function only for the purpose of being high.
  • You begin to do things that you would have never considered doing in the past to make sure that you have access to the drug. Your brain convinces you that it is okay to partake in these risky behaviors because of the end reward. You may even break the law or cause harm in an effort to get high.
  • If you stop using the substance your brain will send “shock waves” through your system. These are withdrawal symptoms and they can be mild or very bad. To stop the withdrawal symptoms, a person will get more of the substance, giving the brain what it needs.

Now For The Really Good News

The brain is a wondrous thing. At the same rate that the brain can change and function only towards an addiction, it can also heal and repair itself. Everyone can overcome an addiction. When you stop your substance abuse, your brain will revert back to functioning properly.

With the help of a qualified addiction recovery center, you can break the physical and emotional addiction to any substance and allow your brain and your body to heal. It is possible and many people succeed each day. During the rehab process, you will learn to address the issues that led to addiction, how to overcome the addiction, how to allow yourself to heal and remain healthy, and how to remain in recovery.

The Joy Of Recovery

If you are experiencing an addiction, the thought of being free of this problem must bring you great joy. The ability to take control of your life and your actions without your addiction is something that you can have and enjoy. You can make plans, set goals and live the life you want to live.

Choosing the right drug rehab program can help you restart your life. It can teach you how to live substance free and embrace everything that life has to offer. It will also teach you how to remain physically healthy. Feeling good physically is a very important step to staying in recovery.

Many people do not believe that recovery can be possible. That is just their addicted brain trying to convince them to keep using the addictive substance. Recovery is, however, very possible when you work with the right type of addiction recovery center.

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