Did you know that your brain actually reinforces drug abuse? Granted, you take the first drink or pill because you want to know what it feels like. However, from there it’s a slippery and fast road to dependency. Here’s what you need to know about addiction and the brain.
Drugs Interact with the Brain and Make Changes
The chemicals in the drugs you take will stimulate the brain’s reward center. Frequently, they boost dopamine production. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that makes you feel good. Because the mind wants you to repeat the activity, it releases dopamine when you do something such as exercise.
Drugs interfere with the process. They artificially cause dopamine release and prevent the reuptake of the substance. Doing so creates a dopamine flood, which results in feelings of euphoria or a pronounced high. Similarly, drugs can also act on other neurotransmitters such as GABA and serotonin.
How Addiction and the Brain Connect
Somehow, the drug has to convince your brain to keep using even though you’re experiencing adverse consequences. This explains why women may be on the verge of losing custody of their children and still use. The chemicals in the drugs create a pleasurable experience. The brain remembers it.
Now, the brain wants to repeat the experience again and again. It causes you to crave the drug. Therefore, you’ll do anything just to get another hit. As you continue using, the drugs actively change your brain chemistry.
As a result, chemicals strengthen the link between addiction and the brain. Drugs rewrite brain chemistry to make dopamine release possible only when the compounds of the substance are present. Rather than releasing dopamine frequently, the brain no longer does so. It explains why you suffer deep depression when you try to withdraw.
Breaking the Addiction
Your brain has learned that drugs can make it feel happy or even euphoric. It now demands this happiness on a compulsive level. It seems like even the most negative outcomes don’t deter it. That said, there’s a way to help the brain unlearn its dependency.
Rehab lets you break the addiction. A good-quality womens rehab program focuses on your innate strengths. It builds you up and helps you make changes. Modalities include:
- Residential care as well as extended stays that let you take the time you need to heal
- Behavioral therapies to counteract dysfunction with healthy coping mechanisms
- 12-step program participation, which enables you to receive peer support for long-term sobriety
- Exercise therapy that introduces you to new hobbies for life after rehab
- Social gatherings with peers in recovery that let you practice living and interacting with others without using
Help is Just a Phone Call Away
The connection between addiction and the brain can seem so strong that nothing can dislodge it. That’s not the case. Rather than letting the chemicals dictate how you live your life, take back control over your decisions. Reach out for help to Soledad House by calling 866-314-3222 today.