Menu Close

Build a foundation for lasting recovery

Does Drug Abuse Damage the Brain?

The human brain sits at the center of human activity – you need it to breathe, to eat, to ride a bike, and to enjoy your daily activities. When someone develops an addiction, their brain craves that substance. Long-term addiction can result in brain damage and can even be fatal.

The brain responds to addiction based on many factors, such as the type of drug, the frequency, and the stage of addiction. While not all drugs have permanent effects on brain chemistry, most drugs can cause fundamental changes that affect the individual throughout life.

Nearly all drugs target the brain’s reward system. The overstimulation of this system produces euphoric effects in response to the drugs. This reaction sets in motion a pattern that forces some people to abuse more drugs. When you take drugs, your brain changes the way it works. Different drugs work in different ways. For instance, marijuana will mimic the neurotransmitters and trick the brain into sending abnormal messages to the rest of the body. Cocaine causes the nerve cells to release large amounts of neurotransmitters and prevent them from being reabsorbed. Ecstasy binds to serotonin transporters in the brain and has stimulant and hallucinogenic properties.

Does Drug Abuse Damage the Brain?

Drug Abuse and the Brain

Your brain is a complex organ that is responsible for your thoughts, memories, and personality traits. No matter what type of drugs you use, they always find their way to your brain. Once in your brain, drugs interfere with your brain chemistry to produce the desired effect. The changes can include:

  • Increased production of dopamine
  • Permanent loss of brain function
  • Rewarding of certain brain cell and neurochemical systems
  • Loss of neurotransmitter binding sites

Dopamine Release in Addicts

The brain undergoes long-term changes during drug abuse. Addiction is dangerous because drug abuse releases ten times as much dopamine compared to normal activities. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter present in the region of the brain that regulates movement, motivation, and feelings of pleasure. The chemical level of dopamine surges in our brains whenever we use drugs that cause us to feel pleasure. If the pattern repeats, the brain remembers it and wants to repeat it over again. As a result, dopamine’s impact on an addict’s brain can become abnormally low, and the ability to experience any pleasure is reduced. To bring dopamine back up to normal, addicted individuals have the urge to take more drugs. And, they want to take larger amounts of the drug than they originally did in order to create the dopamine high – an effect known as tolerance.

We Are Here to Help You

The more someone abuses drugs, the more they want to continue using despite negative consequences.  When you decide to detox, your brain goes into withdrawal. At Evoke Wellness at Miramar, we offer medical detox to those who are working to overcome addiction. Our therapy and clinical services are an important part of a successful detox program. We offer group therapy, individual therapy, as well as in-house 12- step meetings.

Our Evoke Wellness at Miramar facility offers over 17,000 sq. ft. of space in a private location overlooking a lake in Miramar, Florida. As a premier substance abuse detox facility, we are committed to helping our clients get through the detox process comfortably. While the process is not easy, we help our clients to maintain long-term sobriety. We encourage you to talk to one of our experts to answer all your questions.