Your brain is a complex structure of electrical networks and signaling. Many factors affect how the brain works on a daily basis, including the nutrition and other things that you put into your body. Addiction and the brain are related, in that addiction can make changes to the brain that favor addictive habits, making breaking the cycle that much harder.
Addiction and the Brain
Addiction mainly affects three major areas of the brain. It can change the structure of the basal ganglia, extended amygdala, and the prefrontal cortex. Other areas, such as the brain stem are affected by opiate use.
Addiction causes each of these areas in the brain to act differently; here is what addiction does to the brain.
The Effects on Your Brain Stem
Your brain stem is responsible for essential bodily functions that you don’t usually think about like breathing. Opiate use can cause depressed breathing and death due to repression mechanisms in this area of the brain. The brain stem is also responsible for your sleep patterns, heart rate, and plays a part in hormonal regulation.
The Effects on Your Basal Ganglia
This is the brain’s reward center. Regular drug and alcohol abuse will over stimulate this area and make it harder for natural rewards or pleasure to be felt. This area affects motivation around eating, sex, socializing, and the formation of other habits, such as drug use.
The Effects on Your Extended Amygdala
Drug use makes this area of the brain more sensitive. This area tells you when to feel stressed, uneasy, and irritable. When you are abusing substances for long periods of time, your tendency to be in a “bad” mood without substances will be increased.
The Effects on Your Prefrontal Cortex
This is where you do your perceived thinking; it is also the area that develops last. You make your decisions in this region, and prolonged drug use can ingrain decision making patterns that favor using drugs. Your prefrontal cortex is responsible for deciding to act on the signals coming from other areas such as the Basal Ganglia, or your reward system.
What Does This Mean?
It should now be clear that remaining in addictive cycles is due to what addiction does to the brain. When you exit the cycle of addiction, your brain tells you that something is wrong, and that is what makes it so hard to remain stopped. People that are not trapped in this cycle have little understanding as to why you find it so hard to stop using and stay stopped. However, addiction and the brain are intertwined.
Reclaiming Your Brain
You have the power to reclaim your brain and live a substance-free life! Your first step in being free is to find an alcohol or prescription drug addiction treatment center in West Palm Beach, Florida. You need to find a safe place to detox and create an actionable plan to help you live a sober life.
Taking the time to detox in a safe and comfortable place has many benefits, including:
- Reduced Physical Pain
- Reduced Mental Pain
- Emotional Support
- Healthy Sustenance
- Discharge Planning
Are you Ready to Take the First Step?
Stop worrying about addiction and the brain. Contact a detox center near you. The Serenity House in West Palm Beach, Florida, will ensure that you are comfortable during your stay and that you have a discharge plan that will fit with your life. Call 866.294.5306 today to find out more about how you can be on your way to a new sober life!