How Drugs Affect the Brain

how drugs impact the brain

How Drugs Affect the brain?

Many people understand that drugs can affect the brain, but they’re not exactly sure how beyond the high or sense of euphoria these substances produce. Regardless of how you use drugs (i.e. inhale, swallow, inject, or snort), drugs invariably affect the brain negatively and can cause both short and long-term effects. As chemicals, drugs can alter your brain’s chemistry, causing changes that may not be reversible. When you’re addicted to a drug, whether illicit or prescription type, it can affect the way you think and feel. Discovery Point Retreat offers holistic addiction treatments where we educate individuals about the effects of drugs while helping them manage their addiction and prevent relapse. We care about your health and well-being. That’s why our team is devoted to helping you achieve your recovery goals every step of the way.

Your Brain: A Communication Hub

The brain is a complex organ. It’s so complex that scientists still don’t fully understand its workings. What they do know is that it operates as your body’s communication hub–a kind of switchboard. Our brains are made up of neurons, billions of neurons that are themselves chemical in nature. These neurons control information that’s sent to other neurons along pathways in the brain that are very much like circuits. The information that neurons share informs how we feel and what we think. These messengers are also involved in ensuring that physiological functions like breathing continue uninterrupted. 

The brain, spinal cord, and nerves make up the central nervous system of our body. We may not be aware that these features are constantly buzzing with information sharing, but they are. It’s not surprising, then, that using powerful chemicals could have profound effects on the chemistry of our brain. Unfortunately, these effects play a role in the development of addiction and also underscore the condition’s chronic nature. That’s why at Discovery Point Retreat, we are committed to treating the whole person–their mind, body, and spirit.

How Do Drugs Affect Your Brain?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that drugs can interfere with how our brain’s neurons “send, receive, and process signals.” Under the influence of foreign chemicals–a.k.a. the addictive substance–the brain is receiving and sending abnormal signals. These signal foul-ups affect you physically; for instance, you may experience a reduction in motor function. These abnormal signals also disrupt your thought processes and can cause mood changes. 

Over time or, possibly, with an acute episode of abuse, these addictive substances can change your brain’s chemistry permanently. This is why you might sometimes hear that addiction rewires your brain. That’s a more simplistic way to explain things, but that’s roughly what happens. Additionally, certain drugs can affect different areas of the brain and cause different reactions. Generally speaking, the following are a few examples of what can occur when drugs disrupt the normal function of your brain:

  • Loss of coordination / reduced motor function
  • Reduced respiratory function
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Impair cognitive function
  • Mood disturbance
  • Development of mental health conditions (i.e. anxiety, depression)
  • Reduced motivation

These are merely some common effects that can occur with drug use. An overdose can lead to life-threatening effects, causing the brain to stop signaling to vital parts of the body like the respiratory system, affecting the ability to breathe.

Drugs and Chemical Dependency

There’s no denying that drugs can induce a state of euphoria or pleasure. That’s also an effect that drugs have on the brain. They do this by causing the brain to release a surge of feel-good chemicals known as endorphins. The brain releases these chemicals naturally as with exercise. You may have heard of the phrase ‘runner’s high,’ which is an example of the natural endorphin release. Running, however, is a healthy activity, so continuing to run and experience that feel-good rush, which does not alter your brain’s chemistry abnormally, is ok to continue. However, using drugs to achieve that abnormal high paves a path to chemical dependence and addiction. The more you use, the more you will feel compelled to abuse drugs in spite of their negative effects. 

At Discovery Point Retreat, we understand how drugs alter the brain. That’s why we focus on treatments that address not only the physical dependency on drugs, but also the psychological dependency on them. Our comprehensive treatment programs form the core of our client-centered care. With holistic therapies and medically supervised detox, we’ve helped hundreds of people achieve recovery, and we want to help you recover too. Contact us at (888) 981-6920 and let us help you choose a course of treatment that’s ideal for your needs and preferences. Someone is always here to assist you.

If you are looking to receive professional help for you or a loved one, please do not hesitate to contact Discovery Point Retreat today at (888) 981-6920 to speak with one of our compassionate representatives about the specialized programs for pain pill addiction that we offer.

Whether this is your first time seeking treatment, or you are returning after experiencing a relapse, the Discovery Point Retreat team is dedicated to helping you achieve sustainable, lifelong sobriety.

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