Drug abuse is known to have devastating long-term effects on your mind, body, and emotions. Get expected treatments exclusively at drug rehab Melbourne. Despite causing feelings like euphoria and ephemeral happiness, within minutes of entering your body, most drugs attack and rewire the whole system and can wreck your overall wellbeing in a matter of a few hours or days. These changes are often fundamental and can leave a mark forever. While some of these effects are short-term, others may be life-changing and irreversible. Drugs act gradually and slowly modify the very essence of your vital organs. This can lead to severe disabilities in some people, while pregnant women may have children born with birth defects or infections. Long-term substance abuse particularly damages the brain in unimaginable ways. The brain is the most important organ of your body. It promotes healthy functioning of the body, including digestion, hunger, homeostasis, vision, hearing, concentration, memory, sleep, and more. Drug abuse can make these processes abnormal from continuous usage. After conducting a thorough detox, drug rehabilitation centers often engage patients in therapeutic activities and medical techniques to cure the brain of the side effects of drugs. They aim to normalize your body and restore its internal balance. Let’s go through some long-term effects of drug abuse on the brain:
Brain diseases caused by long-term drug usage
Drug addiction is similar to a chronic illness, as identified by The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Thus, it leaves a long-lasting impact on the brain’s features and functions and results in disorders or diseases. Following are some common brain diseases that are treated during drug addiction therapy using a multitude of medication and therapeutic remedies:
- Cognitive impairment or dementia
- Seizures or epilepsy
- Sleep disorders like insomnia
- Optic neuritis
- Serotonin syndrome
- Pancreatic and digestive dysfunction
- Reproductive disorders
- Hormonal imbalance
- Renal problems
- Respiratory diseases
- Cardiovascular complications
- Low immunity and high risk of infections
What factors affect the impact of drugs on the brain?
Not everyone experiences the same brain issues. The side effects greatly depend on socioeconomic and environmental factors and are influenced by the overall wellbeing of the person. For example, the duration for which you might have taken drugs is one major consideration. It is important to know how long you have been taking drugs to determine the detrimental effects on the brain. Doctors might also consider your age, sex, location, gender, and family history to determine the risks. Similarly, the mode of drug intake is integral. Whether you injected it into your bloodstream directly, snorted the material, or smoked it, all can have a different impact on your body. Your dietary habits, mental health status, and financial conditions can also play a role in altering your brain through drugs.
How does substance abuse change the brain?
Your brain contains many neurons. They are responsible for sending messages to and from the organs and brain, forming a communication channel. These processes are carried out through neurotransmitters – the brain releases certain chemicals to facilitate this communication. Long-term drug abuse directly affects the brain's information processing ability. As a result, the person experiences serious changes in their learning, speaking, memory, movement, and other functions. But various procedures, such as adult speech therapy, can now help counter these effects. It can address a person's speaking or communicating problems.
Addiction also alters the brain’s rewarding system. Dopamine is a hormone that makes you feel happy and is associated with positive feelings. After you take drugs, your brain experiences a surge of dopamine, which is temporary and doesn’t last long. However, your brain fails to recognize what initiated the dopamine release and instead becomes addicted to the cause. After repeated use, the brain begins to alter how it responds to these sudden dopamine spikes. As a result, the brain simply stops making dopamine or releases it in low quantities in the absence of toxic substances.
How do different harmful substances affect your brain?
Let’s check out how popular drugs can alter your brain health:
- Effect of cocaine on the brain: Coke is known to kill brain cells. Being a stimulant, cocaine makes your brain active and leaves you feeling more alert than ever. However, at the same time, you might experience deep paranoia, low appetite, moodiness, and few moments of pleasure.
- Effect of heroin on the brain: Upon entering your brain, it binds to the brain's pain-relief receptors that are usually reserved for opiates. As a result, the brain releases happiness and pain relief chemicals, and you slowly become addicted.
- Effect of marijuana on the brain: While medical marijuana does have some credibility, long-term cannabis smoking can wreck your ability to move normally, increase sex drive, and heighten your senses. You might experience feelings of extreme emotions and demonstrate signs of clinical depression.
In this blog, we have pretty much covered all the drastic changes that take place after using certain drugs and how these harmful compounds alter the brain’s anatomy and physiology. Such people often have to struggle with withdrawal and the damaging effects in the body for a long time. Going through these changes alone can be difficult and painful. Being around positive people can be quite beneficial. Therefore, it is necessary to have a proper support system of trustworthy friends, family members, coworkers, online peers, and even understanding therapists. They can guide you back to normal life and show you how to start living healthy once again. Additionally, you should pay attention to your diet as nutritious foods can minimize the negative effects of long-term substance abuse.