No matter what type of drugs someone uses, they will eventually affect the brain. Snorting, drinking, injecting, swallowing, or combining these ways will ultimately deliver drugs to the bloodstream, moving next to the brain. Since the brain has a role in managing all thoughts and functions, it makes sense that a particular drug would have to travel to the brain to cause an impact.
Long-term abuse and misuse of drugs can severely impact the way the brain functions. Drugs are highly capable of doing this because, once ingested, they change the brain’s chemistry to either speed up or slow down the central nervous system.
If these vital brain functions are being altered or interrupted in any way due to drug use, it will be life-threatening.
What Drugs Are the Most Dangerous?
Here are the five most dangerous drugs that significantly affect the brain.
Cocaine interferes with the use of dopamine in the brain, conveying messages from one neuron to another. In general, cocaine stops neurons from turning dopamine off, resulting in an irregular activation of the brain’s pathways. Crack ranks as the third most damaging drug, which causes a milder high. Of people who try cocaine, around 22% become dependent on this drug at some point.
Experts ranked heroin as the most addictive type of drug. It is an opiate that commonly causes the level of dopamine in the brain system to increase. While heroin is arguably considered one of the most addictive drugs, it is also dangerous.
Alcohol such as beer, malt liquor, and wine has various effects on the brain, including long-term and short-term effects. Abuse in alcohol drinking can lead to memory impairment, blackouts, and weakened decision-making. About 22% of people who drink often develop alcohol dependence. Heavy drinkers suffering from alcohol addiction are at higher risk for decreased attention span and memory loss.
Long-term abuse of this drug has several negative consequences, including addiction. People who use this drug long-term can exhibit different symptoms like anxieties, insomnia, mood changes, violent behavior, and confusion. These issues reflect significant changes in the brain. Severe functional and structural changes in the brain due to methamphetamine use account for various cognitive ad emotional problems.
Barbiturates, also recognized as gorillas, blue bullets, pink ladies, and barbs, are prescribed drugs to induce sleep and treat anxiety. This drug interferes with chemical signaling in the brain, causing it to shut down many brain regions. This drug causes euphoria with low doses, but when doses are high, it can be lethal since it suppresses breathing.
How Do Drugs Work in the Brain?
Drugs interfere with how the neurons receive, send, and process signals through neurotransmitters. Most drugs like heroin and cocaine can activate neurons because the chemical structure imitates the natural neurotransmitter. It allows the drugs to cling onto and activate the neurons.
Even though these drugs often imitate the brain’s natural chemicals, they can’t activate neurons the same way that natural neurotransmitters do. Abnormal messages go throughout the network. Cocaine, in particular, can cause brain neurons to release irregularly large amounts of neurotransmitters like dopamine. It prevents the normal reprocessing of the brain chemicals by interfering with transporters.
Directly or indirectly, nearly all drugs target the brain’s reward system similarly. If people continue to abuse drugs, their brain adapts to tremendous surges in dopamine, resulting in its decreasing long-term impact on the reward circuit.
Long-term drug abuse causes changes in the other brain chemical circuits and systems as well. These changes can drive people to take drugs impulsively despite adverse consequences – in other words, to become more and more addicted to drugs. We can stop addiction and prevent brain damage. However, we have to get people who struggle with addiction to seek professional help and treatment. Many qualified rehabilitation centers will go a long way in helping them recover quickly.
What parts of the brain are affected by drug use?
Drugs can change critical brain areas that are essential for life-sustaining functions. It can drive impulsive drug use that commonly marks addiction. Below are some specific areas of the brain that are vulnerable to the damaging effects of drug use.
- The extended amygdala. This brain area plays a vital role in stressful emotions such as uneasiness, irritability, anxiety, which often characterizes withdrawal right after the high drug passes. This particular circuit becomes gradually sensitive with intense drug use.
- The basal ganglia. It plays a critical role in optimistic forms of motivation, such as the pleasurable effects of healthy activities and the formation of routines and habits. Socializing, eating, and sex are some of the healthy activities included.
- The prefrontal cortex. It is the last part of the human brain to mature, making teenagers more vulnerable. Stunting the brain at this critical period of development causes damage that people will deal with throughout their lives. It drives the capacity to plan, think, make decisions, solve problems and exert self-control.
- The cerebellum. It involves motor coordination, posture, and learning necessary and straightforward tasks. Too much drug addiction causes each function to deteriorate.
Can you get over the brain damage from Drugs?
Several types of brain damage often occur as a direct result of drug abuse. Damage due to the brain’s missing nutrients because of drug use usually has a significant chance of being reversed. On the contrary, extensive brain damage and cell deaths due to intoxication and abuse of drugs are often irreversible.
But is there any hope to recover a proper and normal brain function even if brain damage has occurred? Yes, there is always hope. With addiction treatment centers’ help, getting people back to their normal, healthy selves is possible. That said, there are significant challenges ahead. Damage does happen. Some effects of drugs and alcohol in the brain often occur after one use. The specifics of brain damage vary on the substance used, method of ingesting, and length of use. Moreover, nearly all forms of brain damage are the immediate result in the following:
- Lack of nutrients to sustain tissues in the brain
- Altering neurotransmitters and brain chemicals
- Changing hormones in the brain
- Oxygen deprivation
- Directly injuring, damaging, or death of brain neurons, cells, and receptors.
If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction, they are at high risk of developing brain damage. Seeking help from the best substance abuse treatment center in Orange County, CA, that offers brain therapy can help restore vitamins and nutrients vital to brain functions. Once a team helps restore the balance, a thorough assessment is next. Doing the evaluation will help in determining the level of brain damage. You can educate yourself even more about these conditions and procedures by checking out [link to blog article].
Treatment specialists will monitor the brain and figure out how to enhance brain activity while also reducing unhealthy impulses and addiction. If you have more questions, send a message and send at email@example.com, or give us a call at 562-275-3498.
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