Your brain is who you are. It’s what allows you to think, breathe, move, speak, and feel. The brain is always working, even when you are sleeping. At Eden Recovery Centre, we explain to patients that the brain is made up of many parts that work together as a team, each with a different and important role to perform.
Eden unpacks what happens when drugs enter the brain.
Drugs are chemicals. When someone ingests these chemicals, either by smoking, injecting, inhaling, or eating them, they tap into the brain’s communication system and tamper with the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information. Different drugs—because of their chemical structures—work differently. We know there are at least two ways drugs work in the brain:
- Imitating the brain’s natural chemical messengers
- Overstimulating the “reward circuit” of the brain
Eden Recovery Centre educates their patients that some drugs, like marijuana and heroin, have chemical structures that mimic that of a neurotransmitter that naturally occurs in our bodies. In fact, these drugs can “fool” our receptors, lock onto them, and activate the nerve cells. However, they don’t work the same way as a natural neurotransmitter, and the neurons wind up sending abnormal messages through the brain, which can cause problems both for our brains as well as our bodies.
Drugs affect three primary areas of the brain:
- The brain stem is in charge of all the functions our body needs to stay alive—breathing, moving blood, and digesting food. It also links the brain with the spinal cord.
- The limbic system links together a bunch of brain structures that control our emotional responses, such as feeling pleasure when we eat chocolate.
- The cerebral cortex is the mushroom-shaped outer part of the brain (the gray matter). In humans, it is so big that it makes up about three-fourths of the entire brain. Some areas process information from our senses, allowing us to see, feel, hear, and taste.
At Eden Recovery Centre, we are constantly warning people of the long-term effects of drug abuse on the brain.
Drug use can eventually lead to dramatic changes in neurons and brain circuits. These changes can still be present even after the person has stopped taking drugs. This is more likely to happen when a drug is taken over and over. Over time, drug use can lead to addiction, a devastating brain disease in which people can’t stop using drugs even when they really want to and even after it causes terrible consequences to their health and other parts of their lives.
If you are concerned about the damage drugs is doing to you or that of a loved one. Don’t hesitate to contact us. For information on Eden Recovery Centre’s Treatment Programmes and advice, please feel free to contact the Eden Recovery Centre. You can depend on full discretion.