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woman with her head in her hands struggles with how addiction affects the brain

How Addiction Affects the Brain

It’s a common misconception that people can quit abusing drugs or alcohol at will. That’s not the case. When you realize how addiction affects the brain, you see the insidious changes chemicals make to the organ. Interestingly, rehab and dialectical behavior therapy for addiction help you to reverse many of them.

Chemicals Create Addiction

Stimulants, nervous system depressants, and hallucinogenic drugs all affect the brain. No matter how you take the substance, it eventually ends up in the bloodstream and finally the brain. Drugs and the brain develop a rewarding relationship. You take the drug, and the chemicals coax the brain into releasing particular neurotransmitters.

The case in point is crack. If you take it in sufficient quantities, it results in a dopamine glut. This, in turn, produces a sense of euphoric energy and strength. Although short-lived, it’s tremendously pleasurable.

Therefore, you’ll repeat the experience as soon as possible. Eventually, you need to increase the dose to have a similar experience. That’s because your body developed tolerance.

How Addiction Affects the Brain

At some point, you reach the tipping point. Your brain now requires the chemicals to release its neurotransmitters. Without crack, for example, you fall into a deep depression. Therefore, you keep using just to feel normal.

For many, it isn’t about the high any longer. Rather, they fear the withdrawal symptoms and severe mood swings. You’ll now do anything to have another dose of the drug that keeps you feeling good. It’s fair to say that you developed a chemical dependency.

You Can Retrain Your Brain

How addiction affects the brain is through the effect on the limbic system. However, you’re still in control. You can choose to seek help. While simply quitting by sheer willpower is highly unlikely, therapy can make the difference.

It’s the missing piece that can help you enter long-term recovery. It starts with medical drug detox. You quit taking the drug. To prevent intense cravings and pain from derailing your effort, medication-assisted treatment takes the edge off.

After about a week, you succeed in breaking the physical dependency. Your brain no longer needs the drug to function. It regained equilibrium. That said, there’s still more to do.

How addiction affects the brain is on a physiological and psychological level. After dealing with the physiological effect, it’s time to focus on the psychological one. You do this at rehab.

Rehab Empowers a Move Toward Long-Term Recovery

Whereas drugs and the brain create dependency, dialectical behavior therapy for addiction and other modalities help. Examples include:

Now that you know how addiction affects the brain, isn’t it time to seek help? At Promises Behavioral Health, therapists can help good people like you. It’s time to make a change. Call 844.875.5609 now.