Impact of addiction on the brain

Addiction impacts the brain in several stages. The chemical compounds in opioids, stimulants, nicotine, alcohol, and sedatives enter the brain and bloodstream upon usage. If a chemical is in the brain, it can lead people to let go of control of their impulses or crave a harmful drug.

When someone develops an addiction, the brain longs for the reward of the drug. It is due to the extreme stimulation of the brain’s reward system. In response, many persist use of the substance, unlocking a host of euphoric feelings and strange behavioral traits. Long-term addiction can have severe biological effects of dependence on the brain, such as brain damage, resulting in death.

The biochemistry of addiction on your brain

The brain reacts to addiction based on several aspects, such as the type and number of drugs utilized, the frequency, and the addiction level. For instance, if someone uses cocaine, they will notice a feeling of euphoria. It happens because cocaine is psychoactive and affects the area of the brain that regulates pleasure and motivation. Thus, there is a short but powerful burst of dopamine—the chemical that leads many to experience euphoria. This feeling can be so strong that an intense desire to continue utilizing may develop.

The more someone abuses a drug, the higher they may persist using it unless they get assistance overcoming a life-threatening addiction. Once the chemical has an impact on the brain, individuals can feel physical symptoms, as well as the effect of the chemical throughout their nervous system. These can comprise a rapid heartbeat, paranoia, nausea, hallucinations, and other disturbing sensations the person has the least control over. The person may become consumed with abusing the drug to retain their habit, no matter the cost. As a result of this firm grip of substance abuse, people can begin acting in an unrecognizable manner concerning their friends and family.

Rewards to the brain: How addictions develop?

The brain controls temperature, emotions, decision-making, breathing, and coordination. This critical organ in the body also impacts physical sensations in the body, emotions, cravings, compulsions, and habits. Under the impact of a powerful but harmful chemical, individuals abusing drugs like benzodiazepines or heroin can change their brains’ working.

Drugs interact with the brain’s limbic system to emit strong feel-good emotions, impacting the individual’s body and mind. Our brains award us when we do something that makes us pleasure. To explain it in other words, individuals keep consuming drugs to bolster the intense feel-good emotions the brain releases, therefore creating a cycle of drug use and extreme highs. Gradually, they take the medication to feel normal.

The brain, addiction, and withdrawal

As an effect of drug addiction, the brain rewards the brain. It encourages drug addiction, retaining the individual in a cycle of highs and lows, on an emotional roller-coaster, feeling of desperation and depression without it. Once an individual suddenly stops, there are severe mental, physical, and emotional outcomes. People may experience distressing symptoms. They cannot neglect some substances; withdrawal symptoms are usually more potent for some drugs than others.

At the point of withdrawal, someone who ceases using heroin will experience intense cravings, depression, anxiety, and sweating. Most of this is due to the rewiring of the brain after increased heroin use. In this stage, the person may not have a full-blown addiction but may have developed a tolerance or dependency. As time passes, the high volume of chemicals floods the brain, leading it to adapt to addiction’s effects on the brain. The brain then decreases its production of neurotransmitters or chemical messengers in the brain. Withdrawal symptoms often require professional treatment, which can significantly help reduce the chance of relapse and the risks of stroke or heart attacks.

Brain therapies for addiction

When someone battling addiction on the brain enters a facility, they get medication and access innovative treatments. The standard treatment to stabilize and relieve the brain after addiction is biofeedback therapy. It permits a professional to monitor the brain. They can understand how to improve brain activity, decrease drug addiction’s effects on the brain and unhealthy impulses. Two common types comprise neurofeedback and biofeedback.

Biofeedback uses what is known as Electroencephalograms (EEG). EEGs’ general use is to help individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injuries and can help people with obsessive-compulsive disorders and other brain disorders. Biofeedback decreases stress and reduces involuntary functions, as a professional monitor the brain with electric sensors on the person’s skin. This therapy consists of muscle relaxation, guided imagery, and meditation.

When this is used along with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavioral therapy, biofeedback both enhances the individual’s uncontrollable functions, like a heartbeat, blood pressure, and muscle contraction. Neurofeedback, or EEQ therapy, is a kind of biofeedback. It is a brain-training treatment that enhances its function. If the person has an addiction, this therapy monitors the brain’s activity as biofeedback does. It assists patients to decrease stress and anxiety and can treat compulsions. The end outcome of both treatments is the administrator rewarding the brain to recover how it works.

Hence, this is the impact of addiction on the brain. When drugs enter the brain, they cause interference with their everyday tasks and further lead to changes in their functions. As time passes, drug use can lead to addiction, a devastating brain disorder, when people can’t stop using drugs even when they genuinely want to, and even after it leads to terrible effects on their health and other parts of their lives. 

Most individuals go into drug treatment either because a court ordered them to do so or because their loved ones wanted them to seek treatment. Many individuals are tired of addiction and its issues and select to go into medicine. Others are ordered into rehabilitation by a judge or under pressure from family members. But it is very significant not to treat oneself or others from addiction.