The Body’s Role in Addictions

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What causes addiction?

They might take more of the drug to try and achieve the same high. These brain adaptations often lead to the person becoming less and less able to derive pleasure from other things they once enjoyed, like food, sex, or social activities. Long-term use also causes changes in other brain chemical systems and circuits as well, affecting functions that include:.

Despite being aware of these harmful outcomes, many people who use drugs continue to take them, which is the nature of addiction. No one factor can predict if a person will become addicted to drugs. A combination of factors influences risk for addiction. The more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction.

American Society of Addiction Medicine

For example:. However, addiction is treatable and can be successfully managed. People who are recovering from an addiction will be at risk for relapse for years and possibly for their whole lives. Research shows that combining addiction treatment medicines with behavioral therapy ensures the best chance of success for most patients.

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More good news is that drug use and addiction are preventable. Results from NIDA-funded research have shown that prevention programs involving families, schools, communities, and the media are effective for preventing or reducing drug use and addiction.

Although personal events and cultural factors affect drug use trends, when young people view drug use as harmful, they tend to decrease their drug taking. Therefore, education and outreach are key in helping people understand the possible risks of drug use. Teachers, parents, and health care providers have crucial roles in educating young people and preventing drug use and addiction. Understanding Drug Use and Addiction. National Institute on Drug Abuse website. June 6, Skip to main content. Revised June What Is drug addiction? Points to Remember Drug addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences.

This is why drug addiction is also a relapsing disease. Relapse is the return to drug use after an attempt to stop. Relapse indicates the need for more or different treatment. Most drugs affect the brain's reward circuit by flooding it with the chemical messenger dopamine.

Surges of dopamine in the reward circuit cause the reinforcement of pleasurable but unhealthy activities, leading people to repeat the behavior again and again. Over time, the brain adjusts to the excess dopamine, which reduces the high that the person feels compared to the high they felt when first taking the drug—an effect known as tolerance.

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They might take more of the drug, trying to achieve the same dopamine high. No single factor can predict whether a person will become addicted to drugs. A combination of genetic, environmental, and developmental factors influences risk for addiction. Drug addiction is treatable and can be successfully managed.

Although addiction can cause severe brain damage, revolutionary new brain therapies can help treat addiction. Treatment Center Locator. Addiction impacts the brain on many levels. The chemical compounds in stimulants , nicotine , opioids , alcohol , and sedatives enter the brain and bloodstream upon use. Once a chemical enters the brain, it can cause people to lose control of their impulses or crave a harmful substance.

When someone develops an addiction, the brain craves the reward of the substance. In response, many continue use of the substance, unlocking a host of euphoric feelings and strange behavioral traits. Long-term addiction can have fatal outcomes, such as brain damage. For example, if someone uses cocaine , they will notice a feeling of euphoria.

This occurs because cocaine is psychoactive and impacts the area of the brain that controls pleasure and motivation. Therefore, there is a short, but powerful burst of dopamine—the chemical that causes many to feel euphoric. This feeling can be so intense that a strong desire to continue using may form. The more someone abuses a drug, the more they may continue using it, unless they get help overcoming a life-threatening addiction. Once the chemical has affected the brain, individuals can feel physical symptoms, as well as the impact of the chemical throughout their nervous system.

These can include a rapid heartbeat, paranoia, nausea, hallucinations, and other disturbing sensations the individual has little control over. He or she may become consumed with abusing the substance to maintain their habit, no matter the cost. As a result of this powerful grip of substance abuse, individuals can begin acting in unrecognizable ways, concerning friends and family. The brain regulates temperature, emotions, decision-making, breathing and coordination.

This major organ in the body also impacts physical sensations in the body, emotions, cravings, compulsions and habits. Under the influence of a powerful, but harmful chemical, individuals abusing substances like benzodiazepines or heroin can alter the function of their brain. Our brains reward us when we do something that brings us pleasure. To illustrate, individuals continue taking drugs to support the intense feel good emotions the brain releases, thus creating a cycle of drug use and intense highs. Eventually, they take the drug just to feel normal.

Find Out How. As a consequence of drug addiction, the brain rewards the brain. It encourages drug addiction, keeping the individual in a cycle of highs and lows, on an emotional roller-coaster, feeling desperation and depression without it. Once someone suddenly stops, there are harsh mental, physical, and emotional results. Individuals may experience distressing symptoms they cannot ignore for some substances, although substances like marijuana and caffeine produce subtle to no withdrawal symptoms. At the point of withdrawal, someone who stop using heroin feels intense cravings, depression, anxiety and sweating.

How addiction hijacks the brain - Harvard Health

Much of this is due to the rewiring of the brain after extended heroin use. In this stage, the individual may not have a full-blown addiction, but may have developed a tolerance or dependency. Over time, the high volume of chemicals floods the brain, causing it to adapt to the mental effects of the substance. The brain then reduces its production of neurotransmitters, or chemical messengers in the brain.

Withdrawal symptoms often need professional treatment, which can significantly help reduce the chance of relapse and the risks of stroke or heart attacks. Watch Jerry's Story. When someone battling addiction enters a facility, they receive medication and have access to innovative treatments. A common treatment to stabilize and soothe the brain after addiction is biofeedback therapy. This allows a professional to monitor the brain. They can figure out how to improve brain activity, reducing the effects of addiction and unhealthy impulses. Two common types include neurofeedback and biofeedback.

Biofeedback uses what is called Electroencephalograms EEG. EEGs are typically used to help individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injuries and can be helpful to individuals with obsessive compulsive disorders and other brain disorders. This therapy includes meditation, guided imagery and muscle relaxation. Neurofeedback, or EEQ therapy, is a type of biofeedback.

The Body’s Role in Addictions The Body’s Role in Addictions
The Body’s Role in Addictions The Body’s Role in Addictions
The Body’s Role in Addictions The Body’s Role in Addictions
The Body’s Role in Addictions The Body’s Role in Addictions
The Body’s Role in Addictions The Body’s Role in Addictions

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