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What Is Drug Addiction in Relation to the Brain?

What Is Drug Addiction in Relation to the Brain?

Drug addiction is a full-body issue; every body system is affected and changes in response to the drug use or abuse. However, the brain has a special relationship to drug use, because much of the brain’s chemistry is affected by drugs. While different drugs will change the brain in different ways, there is a very specific science to the changes which occur in the brain with drug use.

A Brain Overview

The brain is the most complex, and least understood, system in the body. It weighs approximately three pounds and is a mass of gray-ish matter. It is the epicenter of every human movement, decision, and activity. The brain regulates every part of a person’s life, from emotions, to movement, to the ability to breathe and circulate blood.

There are many parts that work together to create nature’s most perfect working machine. Each part has an assignment, however, without one part, the other parts simply won’t work. When a drug alters a part of the brain, that part malfunctions, and, as with any machine, the rest of the brain stops working correctly.  Certain drugs will target specific brain areas, however, general areas affected include the brain stem, the cortex, and the limbic system.

The Brain Stem

This part of the brain controls sleeping, heart rate and breathing. It is located at the bottom of the brain, toward the back of the neck. It connects to the spine, and often helps send signals from the brain to the rest of the body.

The Cortex

The cerebral cortex, which includes much of the top of the brain, includes a number of different sections and handles a number of different functions. The senses are located here, as is our reasoning and our ability to think.

The Limbic System

This section is toward the center of the brain, and it includes the pleasure center. Our sense of pride from receiving awards is here, as is our pleasure from eating or socializing. This part of our brain sends pleasure signals which keep us alive. Unfortunately, drug abuse also targets this area, and drugs will replace what some people are missing in life to bring them pleasure.

The brain is a complex structure, and it is very fragile. It can be altered by most drugs on the legal, and illegal, market. If you’d like to talk about drugs and effects on the brain, call Vancouver Home Health Care Agency today.
At Vancouver Home Health Care Agency, Caring and Compassion is our business.

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