Consider the following tasks:
- Driving a car
- Meeting a deadline
- Scheduling an appointment
- Following instructions
There is one commonality amongst all of these – executive functioning. Executive functioning allows people to plan, organize, and complete tasks. Frontal lobes in the brain are connected to many other brain areas, coordinating different activities and allowing executive functioning to occur. There are three main components to executive functioning: working memory, mental flexibility, and self-control. As previous research has shown, substance abuse can affect chemicals in the brain and its structure – causing significant effects to executive functioning as well.
Methamphetamine (meth) is a stimulant drug that increases the amount of dopamine (a neurotransmitter that sends signals of pleasure and reward throughout the brain), which can cause severe changes in one’s emotion, memory, and learning capabilities over an extended period of time. A 2017 study published in the journal Basic and Clinical Neuroscience sought to explore executive functioning amongst 161 individuals who fell into one of the following categories: currently abusing (41 people), abstinent (60 people) or those without addiction to serve as a comparison group (60 people).
Researchers from the study found that those actively use meth and those abstinent from meth performed worse on executive functioning assessments than those considered healthy without addiction; overall, the study’s findings suggested that abstinent may repair some damage lost from long-term meth addiction, but some executive functioning damages may remain.
The take away of drug addiction is this: the sooner you seek help, the greater the chances you have at repairing any mental and physical damages the addiction caused to you. Recovery is always worth seeking out, however, no matter how far along you are in addiction – not seeking help could certainly place your life at risk. If you haven’t already, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center to learn more about recovery programs and which may be the right fit for you. It’s never too late.
Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-207-0965 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.