Understanding The Effects Of Addiction On The Human Brain

When it comes to substance abuse or addiction, most of us consider it a bad habit. However, it is actually a health condition. The brain of an individual with addiction issues develops a dependency on a particular substance.

As a result, when an individual suffering from addiction issues tries to quit substance abuse, they encounter withdrawal symptoms. This is the time when the individual needs medical treatment and supervision.

If you want to know more about the treatment program, you must have a look at this page.

What Addiction Does To The Brain

When it comes to the effects of addiction in the brain, there are several levels of it. The chemical compounds present in sedatives, alcohol, opioids, nicotine, and stimulants enter the brain and also the bloodstreams after use.

Once any of the chemicals enter the brain, it has the potential to cause individuals to lose control of their impulses or start craving a harmful substance. When an individual develops an addiction towards a substance, the brain craves the rewards of that particular substance.

It is the result of the intense stimulation of our brain’s reward system. In response to that, several individuals continue the usage of the substance. Eventually, this might lead to a bunch of euphoric feelings and also strange behavioral traits.

Long-term addictions bring severe outcomes, like brain damage, and even can result in death.

The Complete Biochemistry of Addiction

On the basis of a number of factors, the brain responds to addiction. These factors include the number and type of the substance being used, the stage of addiction, the frequency of use. For example, in case a person is into cocaine, he or she will notice a feeling of euphoria.

As cocaine is psychoactive and also impacts the particular area of the brain which controls motivation and pleasure, there is a powerful and short burst of dopamine. It is the chemical responsible for an individual feeling euphoric.

This specific feeling can be so intense that it might form a strong desire to continue using cocaine. The more a person abuses a substance, the more he or she might continue using the same substance unless they are getting any assistance or help for overcoming the life-threatening addiction.

Once the chemical of the substance has left an impact on the brain, the affected person can feel several physical symptoms and also the impact of the chemical throughout their nervous system. These symptoms can include the following.

  • Paranoia.
  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Nausea and other disturbing sensations.

The individual often does not have considerable control over those sensations. The individual might become consumed with substance abuse in order to maintain their habit no matter what it costs.

This powerful grip of substance abuse causes individuals to start acting in unrecognizable ways. Eventually, that concerns their family and friends.

How Addiction Develop

The brain regulates coordination, breathing, decision-making, emotion, and temperature. The brain, the major organ of the body, also impacts cravings, a physical sensation of the body, habits, and compulsions.

Under the influence of a harmful and powerful chemical, people abusing substances, such as heroin or benzodiazepines, have the potential to alter the function of their brain.

In the brain, drugs interact with the limbic system in order to release strong feel-good emotions and affect the addicted person’s mind and body. For supporting the intense feel-good emotions, the individual continues to take drugs.

Eventually, it creates a whole cycle of intense highs and drug use. Over time, just to feel normal, they take the drug or substance.

The Brain, Addiction, And Withdrawal

As a consequence of drug addiction, the affected person’s brain rewards the harmful behavior. This very thing encourages substance abuse, keeping the addicted person in a cycle of highs and lows.

This way, the user starts to feel like they are on an emotional roller-coaster, feeling desperate and depressed without the substance they abuse. Once the individual stops using the substance all of a sudden, they start to feel harsh physical, emotional, and mental results.

The individual also can experience distressing symptoms, which they can not ignore for some substances. For some particular substances, withdrawal symptoms can be stronger than others.

At the withdrawal point, an individual who stops using heroin usually suffers from intense cravings, anxiety, depression, and also excessive sweating. Many of these are the results of the rewiring of the brain after extended use of heroin.

Over a considerate amount of time, a high amount of chemicals flood the individual’s brain. To the substance’s mental effects, the brain correspondingly adapts. Then the brain automatically reduces the production of neurotransmitters, which are the chemical messengers in the brain.

Often withdrawal symptoms require preferential treatment that is able to assist the chance of relapse majorly and also the risks of heart attack and stroke.

Brain Therapies For Addiction

When an individual is battling addiction, they enroll themselves in a treatment program, get access to innovative treatments and receive medications. These treatment programs include different types of therapies along with detoxification.

All those therapies included the following.

  • DBT or dialectical behavioral therapy.
  • CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • Family and spouse therapy.

To know more about the addiction therapies, you can have a look at our home page.


When it comes to substance abuse and its effects on the brain, we simply do not have much knowledge to be proud of. We end up having a lot of questions and queries. That is why here we are going to answer some of the most common questions.

Q1: How Does Addiction Impact The Brain?

Brain receptors become overwhelmed in the person who develops an addiction towards a substance. By producing less dopamine, the brain responds. In some cases, the response involves the elimination of dopamine receptors.

Q2: What Are The 3 Areas Of The Brain Affected By Addiction?

As per the scientific evidence, substance abuse disrupts mainly three areas of the brain, which are particularly important in the onset, maintenance, and development of substance abuse disorder. They are here;

  • The extended amygdala.
  • The prefrontal cortex.
  • The basal ganglia.

Q3: What Parts Of The Brain Are Changed By Drug Use?

As per the National Institute of Drug Abuse, here are the regions of the brain that are disrupted by a substance or drug abuse.

  • Cerebral cortex.
  • Limbic system.
  • Brain system.
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