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Diving Into an Addict’s Mind

Drug Abuse in UtahThe brain is the most complex organ that a person has; it directs your human activity to something as simple as opening a door to complicated computations and essays to complete a master’s degree. All of its parts work together and communicate with each other to perform the simplest of tasks. This all changes when a person becomes an addict to illicit substances, alcohol, and others.

Why Do the Brain Prefer Dangerous Substances to Vegetables?

Steven Hyman, the former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, cites that the question of addiction involves a group of nerve cells located in the brain’s cerebral hemispheres. When a person or animal does an act to satiate a need or desire, the neurotransmitters release dopamine, which results in pleasure. This communication in the brain’s network acts as a signal that the act performed is for reproduction or survival, whether it is directly or indirectly.

The abovementioned process is a system called the reward pathway. When someone does something that results in a reward, the brain records it and the likelihood of doing it again increases. A facility that focuses on substance abuse counseling cites that dangerous drugs causes this interconnected system to haywire or create shortcuts, thus causing addiction.

Powerful Memories

Changes in the brain’s reward mechanism are not the only factor that leads to persistent addiction. Some addicts go through months or even years without abusing a particular substance, but are still likely to relapse when the systems that produce dopamine recover. Drug abuse also associates the reward of taking it with a certain experience. A former addict may retrieve these memories when exposed to certain circumstances, people, moods, places or others.

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Addiction has a profound effect on a person’s brain that’s why it is important to get support and enter a rehabilitation program to fully recover.

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