Changes in the brain in relation to drug addiction

Your brain becomes reconditioned to function only when the substance is used and the effects are of less concern.
The physical effects of addiction can be dealt with on a permanent basis, but a deep desire for the stimulant can be awakened by certain triggers when a former addict find themselves in some situations related to their past life.
This should however not discourage you to seek help for yourself or a loved one struggling with addiction, because recovery is possible. With new and advanced methods of handling recovering addicts, one only needs to understand that this is a continuous journey that one needs to stay on.

Progression of addiction

Every function and reaction our body makes, willingly or unwillingly is controlled by the brain. This includes movement, perspiration and respiration, emotions etc.
A section of the brain referred to as the limbic system is responsible to addiction. It also works as the “brain reward system” which is charged with making one feel satisfied.
The person using an addictive substance feels good after consumption since the limbic system discharges some chemicals that cause these feelings.
The alteration on the brain reward system causes one to have an irresistible and uncontrolled desire to take the stimulant even with its adverse effects.

Triggering the Limbic system

Misuse of substances that are addictive can trigger the brain reward system. The more you trigger the system, the faster it is to get addicted. Anytime one engages in activities that make them feel good, the system is activated. And because it is an expected reaction to survive and adjust, the brain will always have the notion that something is going on that requires survival and as such will reward the activity with feeling good. A simple act of quenching thirst with water is enough to trigger the limbic system and thus we do it over and over again. Addictive stimulants cause the brain to reward harmful indulgences and the effect of this reward and very powerful.

The science of addiction

Dopamine is produced by the brain and released into the brain reward system as a normal reaction and function of the brain. However, introduction of stimulants into the brain cause an excess production of dopamine in the brain. The amount produced by addictive drugs can go up to 10 times more the normal levels.
The typical day to day activities, like food, water, sex etc. which trigger the limbic system are not capable of distorting the brain’s function to get addicted since the dopamine released is in acceptable amounts.
The use of flood neuroreceptors with dopamine by the substance makes one get the “high” linked to drug use. Prolonged drug use makes the brain incapable of producing the required amount of dopamine and therefore the drug takes over the reward system.
Consequently, the person will keep desiring the substance that will normalize the production of dopamine in the brain and essentially they are addicted to the particular substance.

Neurofeedback in drug addiction

Neurofeedback is a treatment method that more and more professionals are using with recovering addicts and has proved to be a reliable mode of treatment. Also referred to as Electroencephalogram (EEG) Biofeedback Neurofeedback is a process of teaching the brain know how to perform better and relearn how not to depend on drugs. As part of the process, the activity of the brain is monitored by attaching sensors to the patients head .the brain is then rewarded for altering its own activity to improved healthier reactions.
Depression, anxiety, insomnia and trauma are some of the conditions addressed by Neurofeedback since they could be triggering addiction.

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