How Drugs Affect the Brain

Anyone that has never been addicted to drugs often find it hard to understand addiction. People do drugs for a number of different reasons such as: depression, anxiety, stress, bipolar disorders and other illnesses. Mental illness and life and general can be hard for some to take. Sometimes drugs can make these people feel ‘normal’ again even if just for a short while. Teenagers are susceptible to wanting to try drugs because friends or celebrities are doing it. Some start doing drugs just out of boredom alone. Those that receive opiates prescribed by a doctor may think that it’s okay. Opiates however, are highly addictive and are a big problem in America today. Those suffering from severe injuries can become easily dependent on drugs. Choosing to do drugs at first is a voluntary choice. It is considered compulsive using later on because the drugs have now changed your brain. Every type of drug abuses your brain and is considered a disease. Different types of drugs can affect your brain in different ways. The molecules and cells in your brain begin to change. It will change your memory and affect your mood and motor skills. Drug addiction is extremely hard to quit and when done could need medical supervision. There is no standard way to treat every person who suffers from addiction. All addictions should be assessed by a physician and taken from there. Some people are able to quit ‘cold turkey’ while others may need medication to prevent seizures and even death. In some cases, people become addicted to drugs with only one use; in other cases, people have to use a drug regularly for weeks or months before a drug addiction develops. Drug cravings, weakened impulse control and strong memories that are drug related all play a role in making it difficult for addicts to stop using drugs.

The brain is the most complex organ in our body. It is responsible for our emotions, ability to have thought and our feelings. It also regulates all of our bodily functions. The brain regulates our coordination and ability to perform certain activities. Whether you use alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription medication it affects different areas of your brain. The Cerebral cortex is the part of the brain that that is divided into sections that deal with function control. Our sight, sense of smell, sense of taste and hearing are thanks to the Cerebral cortex of the brain. The ability to make decisions and the ability to think are also affected by the Cerebral cortex. The limbic system allows us to experience feelings of pleasure. When one feels pleasure due to any type of behavior, it increases our want and need to repeat those behaviors. This is why people who do drugs and drink alcohol are likely to repeat the behavior even though it is harmful. Positive and negative emotions are controlled in the limbic system.

A drug users brain is affected because the drug interferes with the way nerve cells receive, send and process information. This doesn’t just happen by taking street drugs, it also happens when taking prescribed medication. If you are taking medication as prescribed and for a short period of time, there is a high chance you won’t be effected. If you continue to use or abuse drugs the changed nerve cells will take over your thought process. The need for more of the drug increases because of your disrupted brain. Dopamine is hormone that causes us to feel pleasure. Many patients that suffer from depression are prescribed medication that contain dopamine to help life their mood. When drugs are taken, the chemical level of dopamine increases dramatically. When we participate in activities such as sports, fitness activities, playing with our children, vacationing dopamine will naturally be released because these are activities that make us happy. The reason drugs are so addicting is because when they are consumed, 10 times the amount of dopamine is released in our brain. The dopamine from taking drugs also lasts longer than participating in any pleasurable activity. Once you have started taking drugs frequently your brain now almost requires it. If you continue, you will start to notice that those normal activities that made you happy do not anymore unless you are on the drug. This is one reason many people relapse from their addiction even after participating in an extensive rehab program. Drug addiction is a disease and should never be taken lightly. Choosing to get off drugs requires a huge commitment and a long road ahead. Many recovering drug addicts who have been off the drugs for a long period of time have found their brain has gone back to normal. Their motor skills and memory have come back. They are able so sleep better and are no longer sick.