How Addiction Affects Brain Function

Last Updated: Feb 24th 2020

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

How Addiction Affects Brain Function

The main reason that you’re different than everyone else is because of your brain. Without it, you lose more than just your identity. You lose the ability to speak, feel, move and breathe. That’s why it’s so important to take care of your brain and to understand how addiction affects brain activity.

Unfortunately, addiction affects the brain in a negative way. It interferes with how the brain processes information. It’s these chemical changes in the brain that causes people to make terrible choices while they’re on drugs. Below is more information on how drug addiction affects your brain and your overall health.

How Addiction Affects Brain Activity

There are many areas of the brain that addiction affects. The three main areas include:

  • Brain stem
  • Limbic system
  • Cerebral cortex

Each of these areas of the brain is responsible for coordinating and regulating different functions of the human body. They can communicate with each other via neurons. The neurons send chemical signals between each other. Drugs affect these chemical signals, limiting communication between areas of the brain.

The Effect of Drugs on the Brain

Various drugs work on the brain in different ways. Heroin and marijuana, for example, activate neurons by mimicking neurotransmitters. Despite the fact that they trigger neurons, drugs don’t do it in the same way as natural neurotransmitters. This causes abnormal or odd messages to be transmitted throughout the brain.

Other drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines cause the release of large amounts of natural neurotransmitters. In some cases, they can block neurons in the brain from receiving messages. This makes the brain amplify the messages, resulting in the high for which these drugs are known.

Get the Help You Need to Fight Addiction From 1st Step Behavioral Health

Addiction is something that millions of Americans suffer from every year. Thankfully, it’s not something that you have to battle alone because of rehab centers such as 1st Step Behavioral Health. We don’t market ourselves as a vacation spot like so many other rehab clinics. Instead, we take an old-school approach that focuses on your well-being and getting you drug-free.

1st Step Behavioral Health offers a caring environment with a number of programs to help you overcome your addiction. This includes both inpatient and outpatient programs. We also offer long-term care options that range from six months to one year long. The therapy options that 1st Step Behavioral Health offers include:

  • Individual
  • Group
  • Family
  • Art
  • Music

Now that you know more about how addiction affects brain function, don’t let it control your life or the life of a loved one. You can overcome your addiction, and 1st Step Behavioral Health can show you the way. Contact 1st Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126 for more information on the effects that drugs have on the brain.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.