Drug addiction can obviously affect a person’s body in a variety of ways. It can cause them to lose a lot of weight, make them look haggard, and even impact many of their vital organs.
But it’s worth noting that drug addiction can also take a big toll on a person’s mind. It can be hard for a person to function normally when they’re trying to battle back against an addicted mind.
The brain of an addict doesn’t work the same way as the brain in a person who doesn’t use drugs. Drugs can actually throw off a person’s brain chemistry and force them to deal with the disease of addiction for years to come.
Learn some of the ways in which drugs can affect the brain below.
They Change the Way a Person’s Brain Cells Communicate
The brain cells inside of a person’s brain are constantly sending out signals to communicate with one another. The brain is filled with neurons that use what are called neurotransmitters to send and receive these signals.
Under normal circumstances, this is a good thing, as it’s important for your brain cells to stay in constant communication. But the addicted mind doesn’t go through this process in the right way.
When a person uses drugs, their brain cells will still continue to communicate. But they won’t do it in a natural way. Instead, they’ll allow the drugs that they’re using to send out abnormal messages to their brain cells, which can lead to a lot of confusion.
And the problem is that, over time, a person’s brain can start to adapt and normalize these abnormal messages. It can make it hard for them to function and think clearly without using drugs.
They Release Dopamine on Command
When people take drugs, they do more than just scramble their brain cells and make it hard for their neurons and neurotransmitters to do their jobs. They also mess with the dopamine levels in their brains.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is specifically designed to help people feel pleasure. The more dopamine that a person has flowing through their brain, the better they’re going to feel.
It’s not a bad thing for people to have dopamine in their systems normally. But when they get into the habit of artificially inflating their dopamine levels by doing drugs, it can make their bodies crave dopamine over time. That could lead to them developing an addiction to whatever drugs they’re taking to boost their dopamine levels.
They Impact a Bunch of Different Parts of the Brain
In order to go about understanding addiction, you need to know about all the different parts of the brain that drugs can affect.
Drugs are known to impact almost every aspect of the brain to some degree. But they can be especially harmful to the:
- Prefrontal cortex (responsible for thinking and problem solving)
- Extended amygdala (responsible for helping manage anxiety and stress)
- Basal ganglia (responsible for providing motivation and developing habits)
By allowing drugs to mess with these parts of the brain, people will often begin to have a hard time doing things like coming up with solutions to problems and working their way through stressful situations. Their addicted mind is no longer able to function like it should to allow them to maintain control of their lives.
Understanding the Addicted Mind Is One of the Keys to Beating Drug Addiction
There is a reason why most people struggle to stop using drugs cold turkey. Once they’ve used them for an extended period of time, it often results in them developing an addicted mind.
To get around this, they usually need to check into a rehab facility to retrain their brain not to need drugs anymore. It can be a long and daunting process, but it’s well worth it for those who aren’t able to quit using drugs on their own.
Find out more about addiction and the addicted mind by browsing through the other articles on our blog.