Whether you or someone you love suffers from drug addiction, you see there are actual physical and mental changes happening because of this drug abuse. Many people wonder, “how do drugs affect the brain?” Understanding how drug abuse can alter brain chemistry and create dependence is one way to realize how complex drug addiction is. Addiction is a disease. So, like any disease, individuals struggling with it need professional help to return to full health.
At Santé Center for Healing, we treat not only the physical side of addiction but the mental side as well. This care starts by helping individuals learn the connection between drugs and the brain. For more information on our substance abuse treatment, call 866.238.3154 today.
How Drugs Affect the Body
When experiencing addiction, your brain rewires itself to keep up with drug use, despite problems caused in your life. While this rewiring is taking place, your body is also affected by the drugs. You notice changes in your weight, skin clarity, muscle tone, hair, fingernails, and physical capabilities. These changes are a direct result of drug use, and they indicate the severity of your addiction.
The physical effects of addiction don’t stop there. Your internal organs are also working overtime to process the drugs in your system. These organ systems include your heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. In most cases, chronic drug abuse leads to organ damage and, eventually, organ failure.
Addiction also weakens your immune system, leaving you susceptible to disease and infection. Skin infections are common among those with substance abuse disorders because of decreased blood flow and poor hygiene. Injecting drugs also puts you at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and other blood-borne illnesses. Physical symptoms of your addiction will heal, but brain changes remain long after the drugs clear from your system.
How Drugs Affect the Brain
How do drugs affect the brain? Using drugs artificially activates your brain’s reward system. This reward system exists as a lifesaving means of making us feel good when we do things that help us survive. With drugs, this activation is different than when we feel pleasure from eating food, enjoying healthy activities, or being around people we love. Repeatedly using drugs and activating this system leads to addiction and this is the connection between drugs and the brain.
The parts of the brain most affected by drug addiction are the prefrontal cortex and the limbic system. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for judgment, impulse control, and decision-making. Meanwhile, the limbic system regulates our emotions. Drugs hijack these systems, making it difficult to think rationally or feel positive emotions without using drugs.
The Role Of Brain Changes In Your Addiction
Everyday activities of daily life that activate your brain’s reward system do not cause addiction. This lack of dependence is because these activities only trigger healthy amounts of dopamine released into the brain. Dopamine is the chemical creating the feelings of reward that make you repeat healthy actions.
Some drugs mimic dopamine in the brain or trigger the overproduction of the chemical at up to ten times more than naturally produced. This flooding of dopamine in your brain causes the intensely pleasurable high associated with drugs. It also hijacks your natural reward system, making your brain stop producing normal levels of the reward chemical.
As a result of these changes, your brain triggers cravings for the drugs that make you feel good.
You also feel unhappy, anxious, and depressed without the pleasure chemicals you need as part of each day. To function normally, you need the drug. When you stop abusing drugs, your body heals. But how drugs affect the brain does not change. This reaction is why alcohol and drug addiction are relapsing diseases, ones triggering cravings throughout your life.
Helping Your Brain Heal In Argyle, Texas
Santé Center for Healing in Argyle, Texas, focuses on whole-person wellness. As part of an individual treatment plan, you gain physical, chemical, and emotional health improvement based on an integrated approach. For example, our approach includes a variety of programs, treatments, and services such as:
- 12-step program
- Medical detox
- Addiction therapy services
- Professionals program
All of these build upon each other and give individuals the best chance for lasting recovery. At Santé Center for Healing, you understand why you used substances, how you became addicted, and how to prevent relapse with balanced mental health.
The programs at Santé include:
- Residential treatment
- Dual diagnosis
- Group therapy
- Anxiety treatment
- Massage therapy
If you are ready to end your suffering in addiction, call Santé Center for Healing at 866.238.3154 for the individualized treatment you need, or fill out our online form and let us get back to you. At Santé, you gain a real chance for a brighter future.