Is Addiction A Brain Disease
Sprout Health Texas provides a wide variety of therapies in order to cater to our patients individual and unique needs.
For the longest time, most people believed that addiction only occurred only because of a weak personality; however, recent medical studies have shown that addiction is a brain disease.
Brain imaging shows that substance abuse significantly alters the brain’s anatomy and physiology by blocking its receptors that create feelings. The National Institute on Drug Abuse found that substance abuse can affect the limbic system, brainstem and cerebral cortex. The limbic system controls our emotional responses and leads to the repetition of gratifying experiences. The brainstem is connected to our spinal cord, which is responsible for autonomic processes and is greatly affected by substances. And lastly, the cerebral cortex. This is the most important function of critical thinking, problem-solving and learning.
Substance abuse affects the neurotransmitter, Dopamine, which controls our pleasure center. Naturally, dopamine takes a little time to fully release itself into our body; however, when a substance is introduced, it is released faster and in a higher dose. When our sensors are continuously tricked, this causes the brain to release less, or even no, dopamine over time.
Substance abuse also affects our ability to learn and function normally. According to recent research, three out of four chronic alcoholics have significant decreases in their cognitive functioning. Alcohol is also the most common cause of dementia in older adults; therefore, it is quite apparent that substances have a significant negative effect on our brain’s ability to learn and function.
The treatment of substance abuse includes a detoxification (detox) process, followed by a series of therapeutic modalities, such as:
Yoga and meditation