How Does Addiction Affect The Brain?
Addiction and the Brain
If you or someone you care about has been struggling with addiction, you probably already know about the toll that drug use is having on your body, but how does addiction affect the brain?
While the physical consequences are genuine and incredibly dangerous, there is another addiction side, one that could be even more consequential down the line. Drug use not only impacts the body – it also has a profound impact on the brain, and the potential for brain damage is one of the most significant risks drug addicts face and one of the biggest reasons they need to seek help as quickly as possible.
How Does an Addiction Develop?
When looking into how does addiction affect the brain, it’s imperative to know that the brain is intimately involved in the process of addiction, much so than the body itself. When someone takes drugs, including prescription medications like opioid painkillers and benzodiazepines used to treat depression, these substances impact the brain. Over time, those brain changes can lead to addiction, primarily if the drugs are used to excess or taken outside the oversight of a physician.
Addiction can develop slowly over time, or it can manifest more quickly than anyone would think. Even if you only think you are developing an addiction or dependency, it is essential to reach out for help as soon as possible.
Symptoms of Addiction
It is not always easy to spot the early warning signs of addiction, and many people miss the earliest signs and symptoms. Whether you have been taking prescription medications to treat a legitimate medical problem or experimenting with drugs on the street, it is essential to watch out for these early symptoms of addiction:
- Ramping up the dosage – Addicts develop a tolerance for the substances they have been taking, and that means they need more and more of the drug to achieve the same effect.
- Lying about usage – If you lie to your friends and family members or yourself about your drug use, you could develop a dangerous addiction.
- Blacking out – Addicts may blackout after using drugs and not remember what happened when they regain consciousness. These blackouts should be a wake-up call and a warning that professional help is needed.
- Experiencing intense cravings – Experiencing cravings is a classic warning sign of addiction and one you should never ignore. If you find yourself thinking about drug use or craving your next dose, it is vital to seek help right away.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Addiction
Depending on the level of addiction, withdrawal symptoms can start very quickly after a period of abstention. It is important to understand the effect those withdrawal symptoms have on the psyche, the body, and the brain. Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of addiction withdrawal:
- Gastrointestinal upset, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Anxiety and depression, including rebound anxiety following the withdrawal of benzodiazepines and other drugs
- Sweating and cold and hot flashes, sometimes severe
- Possible seizures, a potentially life-threatening consequence of withdrawal
- Insomnia and problems with sleep disturbances
- Agitation and irritability, including fits of rage
Neurotransmitters Involved in Addiction
The brains of addicts are different, and those changes can be detected on an MRI. Drug use can trigger certain neurotransmitters in the brain, causing some to light up and others to shut down.
The neurotransmitters involved in addiction include those that regulate the release of dopamine and noradrenaline, two essential brain compounds that impact behavior and emotional well-being. For all of these reasons and more, those undergoing addiction must get professional help, including assistance in restoring proper brain chemistry.
Addiction Treatment at Resurgence
It does not matter how old you are, how much money you earn, or where you live – you only get one brain, and taking care of the gray matter between your ears is essential for your mental, physical and emotional health. Using drugs can impact the brain in many different ways, damaging certain neurotransmitters and even changing the way the mind works.
If you or someone you care about has been struggling with addiction, are wondering how does addiction affect the brain, it is essential to get them help as quickly as possible. Unlike other parts of the body, brain tissue can be slow to regenerate, and many times those damaged neurons will never be restored to total health. That means the sooner you get help, the better off the brain will be, and we do not want you to let anything stand in your way. So pick up the phone today, give the staff at Resurgence a call at (855) 458-0050 and take the first step on the road to a healthier brain and a better life.