Understanding the Effects of Drugs on the Brain

In the case of any substance abuse struggle, the damaging effects all stem from their effects on the brain. The effects of drugs on the brain can be quite severe.

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Understanding the Effects of Drugs on the Brain

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After all, your brain is the control center that tells your body how to function, feel, and behave. Foreign substances disrupt the brain’s neuronic control center, causing false and damaging messages in your brainwaves. The synthetic interaction between drug compounds and brain activity sends false messages throughout the body. 

The short-term physical effects of substance abuse often have long-term mental consequences. The chemicals in drugs hijack neuronic brain activity by inhibiting the natural communication between neurotransmitters. This overstimulation results in an abnormal activation or release of dopamine, or “feel good” cells into the brain. The correct balance of dopamine is vital for proper short-term and long-term brain function. 

When the brain’s natural balances are exposed to foreign substances, the neurons can develop an unnatural dependency. Even after one use, the body can produce ‘craving’ signals, telling your neurons it needs more of the drug’s addictive compound. 

Since every drug affects different parts of the brain, it’s important to know what you’re up against. Knowing why you are feeling these chemical-induced cravings and how to combat them are the two greatest keys to recovery. Understanding what exactly needs to be fought tells you and your doctor which tools to use to combat it. Having the right tools can help you stand against drugs and their effects on the brain and body.

The Effects of Drugs on the Brain: How Do Certain Drugs Affect the Brain?

Different drugs suppress brain activity in one area while overstimulating them in others. Understanding why abnormal chemical stimulations and suppressions are dangerous can help you grasp the gravity that your life is at stake. With persistent exposure to foreign substances, your brain will develop permanent physical and mental health consequences. 

In addition to health consequences, come the mentally-induced physical dependency to use as well as withdrawal symptoms from non-use. With a trained specialist, it’s never too late to reverse the bodily harm and dependency your body has gone through.

Cocaine’s Effects on the Brain

Regardless of the method with which you use cocaine, the drug immediately rushes to your brain, overloading neurons to produce unhealthy amounts of dopamine. Since your body cannot naturally create the excessive dopamine levels produced by cocaine, this can cause dependency after even one use. Due to the mental and physical dependencies generated by cocaine use, battling cocaine alone can feel impossible. Rest assured, dedicated professionals will help you overcome these chemical imbalances and erase the mental and physical cravings.

Heroin’s Effects on the Brain

With heroin being an opiate and your brain having natural opioid receptors, this drug binds to these receptors. The synthetic connection to these receptors tells the body to create and release artificial “emergency” amounts of opioids. One of the biggest problems with high opioid exposure is that each use reduces the volume of opioids your brain naturally produces. As a result of this use-by-use decrease in opioid production, the body becomes more and more heroin-dependent with each use. 

Even more dangerous are the long-term and immediate physical and mental health risks that rise considerably with each use. These neuronic brain alterations brain require medical training to normalize brain function and balance neuronic and dopamine activity. Treatment here at Kingsway Recovery does more than simply teach you how to achieve sobriety. It teaches you how to stay sober and heroin-free. Both of these go hand-in-hand with the relapse prevention techniques you’ll learn to remove the temptation of substance use entirely.

Marijuana’s Effects on the Brain

Contrary to popular belief, the effects of drugs on the brain are still present in cases of marijuana use. Repetitive THC exposure has mentally addictive properties as well as potential mental health consequences. The psychoactive compound THC in marijuana acts upon the endocannabinoid brain receptors that are designed to regulate pain frequencies. THC attaches to these endocannabinoid receptors and obstructs these normal frequencies, resulting in unhealthy overstimulation of pain relief neurons in the brain. This accounts for the numbing sensations, heart palpitations, mind fog, and other health repercussions associated with marijuana use. 

Prescription Drugs’ Effects on the Brain

Prescription drugs can pose an addictive threat equal to or greater than any of the other drugs on this list. It’s no coincidence that according to one study, over 1 in 10 Americans are addicted to prescription drugs aged 12 or older. As a result of these addictive properties, most prescriptions such as anti-depressants and anxiety suppressants are considered short-term solutions. 

How Do Drugs Affect Long-Term Brain Health?

In addition to their numerous hindrances on neuronic brain activity, drugs have a significantly negative effect on long-term brain health. Drug use kills brain cells that can never be reconstructed or replicated. It doesn’t take much substance abuse to create one or more irreversible mental health conditions. Though these issues are often irreversible, knowing more about these drug-induced conditions will help you and your doctor combat more than just your addiction. With the information on various brain health defects below, your therapeutic specialist will be properly equipped to treat coinciding mental health issues. In some cases, even reversing the mental health conditions that arise is possible.

Increased Anxiety

Most, if not all, drugs intensify the symptoms of anxiety. The pleasure center overload caused by substance abuse alters the brain’s genetic makeup, resulting in abnormally elevated anxiety levels. 

But, just because you’ve developed substance abuse-generated anxiety doesn’t mean hope is lost. Only with medical training can you learn how to get sober and how to stay sober. This requires the utilization of coping techniques that reverse neuronic patterns of anxiety. There’s still time to diminish and in many cases reverse the harmful effects drugs have had on your mind and body.

Lack of Mental Clarity

Studies show that drug use doesn’t only hinder short-term cognitive function, but has long-term effects on your brain’s decision-making processes. Increased anxiety and lacking clarity of thought brought about by drugs have dangerous repercussions on the life decisions you make. Therapy aided recovery will help you restore the rational thought process that your substance abuse struggles have distorted. Many times, the greatest motivational lesson on how to stay sober is the newly acquired clarity of thought in recovery.

Increased Depression

One of the most severe side effects of drug dependency is the increased depression that accompanies that struggle. Drugs manipulate and alter chemicals in your brain to become mentally and physically dependent, causing uncontrollable depression without using. Depression is among the top reasons why people fail to recover on their own. Depression from non-use means the body has developed an unnatural need or dependency on the drug’s chemical compounds. Learning how to stay sober doesn’t happen overnight.

When the natural balance of “feel good” cells in your brain is overstimulated by synthetic substances, your mind is forced to compensate. This means a force overproduction of anxiety and depression causing cells in your body attempts to balance your overstimulated dopamine levels. Fighting depression stemming from drug use can be a seamless and encouraging transition with the help of a therapy expert. However, fighting such substance-based depression alone can prove to be fatal.

Mood Swings

Since drugs affect the body’s pleasure center, it has a roller coaster and often erratic effect on your mood. When untampered with, your brain has a natural harmonious balance of electromagnetic frequencies. Adding unnatural alterations is likely to cause extreme shifts in reactions and behavior. 

Conditions affecting mood such as bipolar disorder are known to be a condition caused by substance abuse. If you have bipolar disorder and have struggled with substance abuse, there is a chance drug use is related. If you or someone you love has shown signs of erratic mood swings, this may also be a symptom of a bigger problem of drug abuse. Training from a medical professional will teach you how to stay sober to fend off any relapse temptations that mood swings can cause.

Begin Your Journey to Recovery and Health Today

It’s not too late for you or a loved one to receive help for substance misuse. It is vital for those struggling with addiction to get the help they need right away in order to prevent permanent negative effects of drugs on the brain. The time to act is now. 

If you or someone you know has been struggling consistently or off and on with substance abuse, Kingsway Recovery can help. Our compassionate team will equip you with the knowledge of how to overcome substance use disorder once and for all. Our mission is to do more than simply help you become free. We want to help you remain free. Allow us to help you begin your journey to addiction recovery today.
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