The brain directly impacts how people react to taking drugs or alcohol. Over time, substance use will affect the brain, making it more difficult to stop. By understanding the brain science of addiction, you can recognize how much you need help to overcome your substance use problems or to get outside help from a treatment center like Harmony Hills for a loved one.
How the Brain Science of Addiction Works
Substance use changes how the brain works. For instance, studies that scan the brains of people struggling with addiction indicate changes to the physical structures of the brain. Sections of the brain most affected by substance use include the following:
- Behavior and impulse control
- Memory and learning ability
Because substance use alters the way the brain works, addiction recovery requires a scientific approach to the process.
Brain Science of Addiction and Adolescent Development
When it comes to drug or alcohol use, teenagers have a special difficulty in quitting without the help of a substance abuse treatment program. According to the science behind addiction, the brain develops throughout the teen years and into early adulthood. The prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is most responsible for decision-making, emotion regulation, and situation assessment, continues to mature during this stage of growth.
Because this part of the brain has not reached its capacity for impulse control, adolescents have a higher risk of trying and becoming addicted to drugs. Alongside the increased chances of starting an addiction, substance use can change the growing mind of teenagers. Those who use drugs regularly during these early years put themselves at risk of altering the maturation of their brains, making addiction in later years harder to break from.
What Drugs Do to the Brain to Cause Addiction
While some people use substances, not everyone becomes addicted to them. Changes in the brain’s physical structures, coupled with risk factors for addiction, increase the chances of developing a substance use disorder.
Drug use affects the brain’s reward center. Most drugs trigger the brain to release dopamine. This substance makes the person feel happy and wants to repeat the process. When dopamine repeatedly hit the brain’s reward center, the action that triggered it becomes reinforced. When substance use causes this cycle, the person has a higher chance of repeated drug use.
However, consistent use of drugs changes how the brain reacts to them. To preserve the reward center’s functioning, the brain will require higher amounts of substances to produce the same effects. Unfortunately, dialing down the reward center requires the person addicted to drugs to use more substances to get the same feeling. Other pleasurable activities also become less enjoyable due to the changes in the brain.
Choose Harmony Hills for Recovery Based on Brain Science of Addiction
Because changes in the brain can lead to addiction, a recovery center must understand this to provide an effective drug or alcohol treatment program. By using scientifically based methods of treatment, Harmony Hills can help those struggling with substance use disorders to find freedom from addiction.
To start, Harmony Hills embraces the transtheoretical model, which uses stages of addiction recovery to help clients to move through the recovery process. From help with detox, including a medically assisted drug detox program to learning coping skills, our professionals at Harmony Hills walk through recovery with our clients.
The brain science of addiction indicates that you need help to stop the substance use cycle. Therefore, you shouldn’t try to go alone through the process. Also, do not continue to allow substance use to harm your life and brain. Get the help you need by contacting us at Harmony Hills. Phone us at 855.494.0357 to start the recovery process with Harmony Hills. Hope for recovery is here, but you have to reach out for assistance.