UNDERSTANDING THE BRAIN CHEMISTRY OF ADDICTION

The brain and addiction are closely connected such that addiction makes an impact on the brain on many levels. In most cases, substance use involves the chemical compounds in the substance flowing directly to the brain and the bloodstream. 

The direct flow of these chemicals to the brain can cause drastic consequences on the user because it directly interferes with neurotransmitters.

It can cause a user to crave a harmful substance or lose control of his impulses. He begins to crave the reward of the substance because of the brain’s reward system that would have been stimulated extremely. 

Several factors determine the brain’s response to addiction. Some of which are:

  • The type of substance used
  • The amount of substance 
  • The frequency of use of a substance
  • The stage of addiction

The brain is the control system of every individual as it is what determines how a person would respond or react to circumstances. It has an impact on physical sensations, habits, compulsions, emotions, and cravings. Addictions develop due to the reward system of the brain which causes persons to ‘feel good’ each time they use a substance.

This feeling continues by continuous use and gets to a point where the person will not feel normal if he has not used any substance within a period.

He becomes depressed and filled with a desperation that he can go to any extent even when it includes harming loved ones to get the substance. Due to the rewiring of the brain by substance addiction, a sudden stop in the use of substances will have dangerous effects. 

The dangerous effects are known as withdrawal symptoms which vary per the type of drug used.

The symptoms occur because of the high volume of chemicals that have flooded the brain and made it adapt to the mental effects of the substance. Hence, it is required that professional treatment be available to help cope with the symptoms. 

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