The Almighty Brain
The brain is still a mysterious organ to us and according to one recent article from Science Alert, is still more than 30 times more powerful than the best supercomputers that the scientific community has created.
The Brain is So Dynamic it ‘Adapts’ to Addiction
The brain undergoes changes during addiction that require some time to undo. Specifically, the brain adapts to the “explosion of pleasure” created by the rush of dopamine the user experiences when taking of drugs or alcohol. This inordinate “explosion of pleasure” causes the brain to reduce its normal output of the chemical dopamine (which is what gives us the sensation of pleasure). The result is that a person in early recovery will experience a state called anhedonia, which feels like life has little or no pleasurable rewards (without the use of their drug of choice).
What’s particularly sinister about this phenomenon is that the person who is in early recovery often feels hopeless and despondent because life seems to provide so little pleasure. They might believe they will never be happy or really enjoy themselves again (without their substance of choice). This makes them particularly vulnerable to relapse.
However, if someone who feels this way manages to stay sober for an extended period, they will be surprised how much they enjoy even ‘the little things’ in life – like a beautiful sunset or simply waking up sober and without a hangover.
What You Can Do to Help Your Brain Repair Itself in Recovery
1. Rack up Consecutive Sobriety
You can’t hurry the brain when it comes to gradually adjusting back to life without the surge of dopamine that the drug or alcohol creates. Give yourself several months of consecutive sobriety and the brain will make progress adapting back to producing normal levels of dopamine. You will find joy in simple things and it will be easier to have an optimistic outlook on life. If you think that several months is a long time to wait to escape the state of anhedonia, then consider how long you were using drugs or alcohol (and thus training the brain to create less dopamine). For most people, the time spans several years and when they think about that fact, it is more understandable to them that they will have to be patient for the brain to recover.
2. Regularly Eat Nutritious Meals
The brain is about 2% of our body mass, yet uses 20+% of the calories we eat. So, it’s in your best interest to eat healthy and nutritious meals to make sure the brain can work as optimally as possible.
3. Get Moving
Exercising speeds up our metabolism and will help expedite the removal of toxic chemicals that are stored in our bodies after abusing drugs or alcohol for any length of time. The increased circulation will also help the brain do it’s work – speeding up the process of recovery.
4. Get Plenty of Rest
Getting enough sleep can be beneficial to recovery in so many ways, and one of those is that it gives the brain time to continue the restorative process of creating a “normal level” level of dopamine.
Contact Us for More Information
Simple Recovery has created several unique treatment programs to make the process of getting and staying sober as fulfilling as possible. We are here to answer any question you may have about treatment or recovery. Don’t hesitate to call us at 888-743-0490.