Since Live Lighter is a blog about natural, balanced, healthy living, addiction is a very important subject as it is the exact opposite of “moderate” and balanced. We’ve blogged about addiction before and so to add another piece to the puzzle, Brooke Chaplan is here today to talk about how addiction changes brain chemistry.
To understand an addict, you need to look beyond behaviors or the source of addiction. Substance abuse goes far below the surface, and actually causes a transformation in the brain. When an addict says they can’t quit, it’s the truth. The brain has been altered through addiction and prompts a compulsion to get more of the drug of choice in order to function.
It’s a Catch-22. More of the drug is needed to get through each day, the more abusive substance is used, and the more damage is done to the brain until it gets to the point of no return. Only professional help at an outpatient drug rehab facility can turn an addict’s life around.
How the Brain Changes through Drug Addiction
You can identify an addict when you see someone who has an intense need for the source of an addiction to the point that living revolves around that drug. A victim of addiction no longer has any control over substance abuse and will do anything to get more, regardless of the consequences. All of these behaviors are due to changes that have taken place in the brain.
It begins with how the brain registers the feeling of pleasure. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is released in the brain when positive feelings are experienced. It makes a person feel good, and that is the key to addiction. Drugs cause a surge of dopamine to be released, providing intense pleasure. Through repeated use of a drug, the brain is trained to like the drug and want more of it until it becomes a need to feel those same chemicals.
The Psychosis of Addiction
As the brain becomes altered through addiction, psychosis is common as well. Those who are under the influence of any form of drug over a prolonged period of time may experience a gamut of psychological issues. Changes in personality, intense anxiety, the inability to focus, and gaps in memory are par for the course for victims of addiction.
When the brain is changed in any way, it will be exhibited through behaviors and alterations in thought processes. In order to address these problems with addiction, it is necessary to get professional help in a medical facility. Drug rehab assists an individual in breaking free from the source of addiction and retraining the brain to function normally once again.
Changes in the brain pull victims of addiction back in for more abuse time after time. It is important to understand that substance abuse is beyond the control of the individual. Drug rehab can establish new patterns in the brain and assist an addict in finding the path to sobriety once again.
About the Author
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.
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