The word “addiction” is derived from the Latin term for “enslaved by” or “bound to”, according to Harvard Health. Anyone who has struggled with addiction knows that it is very powerful and can control our thoughts and actions once we become hooked. Our society has specific images associated with addictions – “meth mouth”, for example – that have made way for both health and appearance related concerns for those who struggle with all types of addiction. While these stereotypes do not ring true for everyone, poor eating, sleeping, and hygienic patterns are unfortunate causes for concern that stem from addiction.
There are 3 areas of the brain that are affected by drug abuse: the brain stem, the cerebral cortex, and the limbic system. The brain stem controls basic functions that are critical to life such as breathing, heart rate, and more. The cerebral cortex is responsible for our ability to think, plan, solve problems, and make decisions. Lastly, the limbic system links together several brain structures that control and regulate our ability to feel pleasure; eating and socializing impact this system, in addition to drug abuse. When drugs become involved, chemicals are released that tap into the body’s communication system and essentially “hijack” the way neurons send, receive, and process information.
Most drugs abuse the system either directly or indirectly through submitted an influx of dopamine, otherwise known as the “feel good” chemical. The brain’s hippocampus, which is responsible for storing and retrieving memories, comes to remember the feelings of pleasure associated with the drug use, which eventually causes the brain to become dependent on the drugs. This can easily lead to addiction, which occurs when the powerful pleasure rewards have taken such a hold on the mind and body that the user constantly seeks it again and again to satisfy the body’s cravings for it.
Previous studies have shown that drugs can have an impact on a person’s biological clock, which also interferes with the regulation of dopamine in the body. A 2012 study conducted by researchers from the UK further found that drug use can cause users to often seek out quick, convenient, cheap fast-food items, with some drugs such as heroin leading users to have little interest in food. Lastly, drug use can damage the elasticity of the skin, fast-tracking an “aging” appearance. The side effects of many drugs also lead to the damaging of teeth, hair loss, damaging of eyesight, and more.
Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse treatment program. We believe in holistic recovery, meaning that we will work with you to restore your mind, body, and spirit. If you’re seeking treatment for either substance abuse or dual diagnosis, call us at 888-743-0490. There are many people that can help you develop the tools you need to succeed.