When thinking about how drugs affect people, friends and family often focus on the visible. For example, they see the changes in personality, financial problems, and deteriorating health. However, they often don’t ask how do drugs affect the brain. It’s just as important because the brain plays such an important role in addiction.
Exactly How Do Drugs Affect the Brain?
It’s important to realize that different kinds of drugs affect the brain differently.
Alcohol, for example, reduces your ability to form memories. Heavy, long-term drinking or alcohol addiction can actually reduce your brain’s size and damage your ability to think. Cocaine, however, activates the pleasure center in your brain. Long-term use can cause paranoia and hallucinations.
The thing all drugs have in common is they alter the amount of certain chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters.
There are several important neurotransmitters. Depending on which neurotransmitter(s) are affected, the high a user experiences will change. The ones drugs most frequently affect include:
In fact, dopamine creates a sense of pleasure, while serotonin affects your mood. GABA is a natural calming agent. Norepinephrine, however, amps you up to take action. By tweaking or affecting the levels of these in the brain, drugs are able to produce the feelings and emotions they do in individuals.
It’s important to remember that your body makes these chemicals and for good reasons. In normal doses, they help keep you mentally and emotionally stable. Furthermore, they also help your brain prepare for or appreciate an activity.
For example, the smell of a steak on the grill triggers a small dopamine release in the brain of someone who likes steak. The smell becomes a source of pleasure.
What drugs typically do is trick your brain into making huge amounts of these chemicals. Cocaine does this by preventing the brain from turning off the flow of dopamine. As the dopamine builds up, you experience euphoria. Addiction begins to occur as the brain begins to rely on cocaine to produce dopamine.
Treating Drug Dependence and Addiction
How do drugs affect the brain is an important question. Just as important is the question, what’s the best way to treat drug dependence and addiction?
For most kinds of dependence and addiction, the best option is a chemical dependence treatment center. Additionally, treatment centers offer medical staff and experts in addiction treatments. For example, some centers offer both traditional therapies and holistic treatments, such as:
This combination of traditional and holistic treatments helps address the mental and emotional side of addiction, as well as the physical and spiritual.
About Crest View Recovery Center
Crest View Recovery Center offer rehab programs for men and women. We use both traditional and holistic treatments as part of our reality based therapy approach.
Recovery is a difficult road when you walk it alone.However, a quality rehab program can help make that path more clear. Contact Crest View Recovery Center at 866.327.2505 and see if Crest View Recovery Center is right for you.