Effects of Substance Abuse & Rehab on Your Brain

Substance abuse can and will have an effect on not only your body but your internal organs as well. If you aren’t too concerned about your liver, you might want to worry about your brain. Substance abuse rehab is extremely important, as the duration of your usage increases so does the damage to your brain. Your brain is the hub of all activity – from walking or talking to even breathing; without your brain you would not be able to function at all. So knowing about the effects of substance abuse on your brain will help you make the right decisions toward taking better care of one of your most important organs.

There are different parts of the brain which all work seamlessly together to co-ordinate or perform specific functions without you being 100% aware of it. Substance abuse can and does alter these vital areas of the brain and this is a threat to your very existence. The affected areas include:

  • The brain stem: This controls vital basic functions such as your heart rate and breathing
  • The cerebral cortex: Different areas within the cortex perform various functions that allow us to see, taste, hear, touch and smell. The frontal cortex allows us to think, plan, make decisions and solve problems
  • The limbic system: This is a behavioral control center as it regulates and controls our ability to feel pleasure. Even the simple pleasure of doing a good deed motivates us to repeat certain behaviors. The limbic system also affects our awareness of emotions (good and bad).

Substance abuse alters the brains communication system and interrupts the way neurons normally send, receive and process sensory input or output. Substance abuse also has an effect on the brain by flooding the system with dopamine, which is normally used by the brain to reward your natural behaviors. The euphoria provided by the overstimulation causes you to continue with your substance abuse as it reinforces and “rewards” your addiction. Eventually, you will never be able to feel “normal” levels of pleasure, that was once provided naturally by dopamine, unless you are using your substance of choice. Thus, as your tolerance has increased so has your usage.

Another negative effect of substance abuse is how your behavioral patterns change. Aspects of your life that can and will be affected include:

  • Your relationship with members of your family and loved ones
  • Your interactions with classmates and your ability to work at college
  • Your ability to hold down steady employment

A substance abuse rehabilitation center might be the only way to save yourself from your addiction. A rehab center will ensure that you receive the appropriate treatment to help you overcome your addiction. The center will ensure that you have the appropriate medical and nutritional care for a healthy mind and body; along with a support system of qualified staff that knows exactly how to see to your needs.

The road to recovery is not an easy one, it takes patience and time but at the end of the day you will see yourself becoming healthier, stronger and able to build lasting relationships that build you up instead of encouraging you to indulge in your previous addiction.