Opioids Addiction and Brain Damage
Opioids are a dangerously addictive class of drugs that can affect many areas of a person’s life should they become addicted. Among them is damage to the brain, some of which might be irreversible. Keep reading to find out more about opioids addiction and brain damage, and why it is important to get help right away before it turns fatal.
Opioids Addiction and Brain Damage: What Happens
In order to understand opioids addiction and brain damage, it is important to know what happens to the brain when an individual abuses the drug. Opioids are commonly prescribed to help ease pain symptoms that are too great for regular, over-the-counter medications to tackle. They are usually prescribed after a major injury, surgery, chronic pain, or to help with pain associated with chemotherapy.
When opioids are taken, they interfere with pain receptors that send messages to the brain. It cuts off communication so that the pain point does not send pain messages to the brain, allowing pain relief for the user. While this is a helpful tool in pain management, it is easy to become addicted to the euphoric feelings it also provides.
All of the interference with the brain’s chemistry will cause the body to become dependent on it, and will eventually cause damage to the brain. These damages include mental health damages, behavioral issues, physical damage to the brain, and other serious damages due to overdose.
Effects of Opioids Addiction on Mental Health
As mentioned, opioids cause a euphoric rush for the user. This happens because a large amount of dopamine is released. Dopamine can be thought of as the body’s “good mood gas tank”. Once it is depleted by opioids, it takes a long time to refill. The longer an individual uses opioids, the longer it takes for this “good mood gas tank” to refill. This causes feelings of depression and anxiety that can be long-lasting.
In addition, because the brain’s reward system becomes disrupted by opioids addiction, it can make it more difficult for the user to find joy in other things. This can make the road to recovery especially difficult, and why many people fall into relapse.
Behavioral Damages due to Opioids Addiction
Opioids, like most other substances, can cause issues with impulse control. Many individuals are more likely to engage in risky behavior due to this, which can cause issues in relationships, work, school, the legal system, and more.
According to the Brain Injury Association of America, there is also evidence that information processing speed is negatively impacted by chronic opioid use, causing difficulty with adjusting to new situations or learning new information, skills that are essential in the recovery process. Additionally, people abusing opioids struggle with solving complex problems and spend less time gathering information and reflecting on a course of action, impacting decision making and reasoning.
The brain is not fully developed until the age of 25, so if an individual becomes addicted to opioids before this age, the behavioral consequences can be lifelong due to the stunting of the growth of the brain.
Physical Damage to the Brain Due to Opioids Addiction
Substance abuse can cause physical damage to the frontal lobe of the brain. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the frontal lobe plays an important role in things such as:
- Executive functioning
The most dangerous damage that can happen to the brain due to opioids addiction is an overdose. In the event of an overdose, the body goes into respiratory depression. This means the brain basically forgets how to perform its most basic functions, such as breathing and beating the heart. Overdoses are often fatal because of this.
About Seasons in Malibu
The only way to avoid brain damage caused by opioids addiction is to remain abstinent from opioids. However, this can be very difficult for the millions of people who are addicted to opioids. If you need help quitting opioids, make sure you reach out for help as soon as possible before the damage to your brain becomes irreversible, or causes a fatal overdose.
Until very recently, addiction to drugs has been looked at as a problem of will power or morality, and that those afflicted by it simply lacked the self-control to stay away from addictive drugs or use them responsibly. It is easy to dismiss addiction as a character defect and ignore it, but that characterization is useless when attempting to treat or rehabilitate a drug addict, not to mention wholly inaccurate.
Ultimately, addictive drugs hijack the brain’s normal decision-making process, chemically forcing the afflicted individual to seek out and use more and more of the substance in order to attempt to satisfy an insatiable craving.
While we do have groups as well, our primary focus is on you as an individual. This is why you will have a 12 person treatment team of PhD and masters-level therapists dedicated to designing a customized and individually tailored treatment program for you. Your treatment plan will evolve over the course of your stay here and will be constantly revised and tweaked based on your progress, to ensure that you are getting exactly what you need.
With our superior team of clinicians, we are able to succinctly pinpoint those areas of focus that will give the client the most advanced opportunity for success. Our approach towards healing is collaborative, comprehensive and committed.
For more information, visit seasonsmalibu.com