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How do drugs affect the brain

By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
How do drugs affect the brain

The brain is the vital organ that governs all actions and communications of our body. With drug consumption its operation can be seen delimited because there are some substances that directly affect the nerve connections and neurons which identify our thoughts, our memories and our daily actions. In this OneHowTo article we reveal how drugs affect the brain so you understand premature deterioration can experience your body with drugs.

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The brain and drugs

The brain is the centre of activity of individuals. It is an organ that contains grey and white matter and regulates all body functions because, thanks to the brain, we can interpret reality and respond to all stimuli of our daily life. Emotions, thoughts, memories and behaviour, each is regulated by the brain. It works in a set manner in which the parts are coordinated to perform certain vital functions and drug use can harm precisely this teamwork and make the operation look deteriorated.

When drugs are taken what is being introduced in the brain are chemicals that penetrate this vital organ interfering with neuronal transmission. Marijuana and heroin, for example, are two types of drugs that activate neurons that contain a chemical that mimics natural transmission. Therefore, when taking either of these drugs we trick the receptors and the drugs adhere to the neurons. Although we have said that they are able to activate neurons, you must know that the way they do it does not have anything to do with the natural way it is done: the messages transmitted to the brain are altered by drugs.

Cocaine and amphetamines are types of drugs that make our neurons release huge amounts of neurotransmitters, this condition interrupts the brain communication channels and causes them not to work as they normally do.

How do drugs affect the brain - The brain and drugs

Parts of the brain affected by drugs

We will now carefully deal, in more detail, with how drugs affect the brain indicating the parts that are affected by drug use. Thus, we can identify three brain regions that are battered with the consumption of these substances:

  • Brainstem: this part is responsible for monitoring vital signs of our body as breathing, heartbeat or sleep. One of the first effects a person feels when they take drugs is that the heart rate accelerates, and the possibility of going to sleep, especially when it comes to stimulant drugs such as cocaine, speed or MDMA is complicated. This is because when taken directly they affect the brain area causing the usual functions to become altered.
  • Cerebral cortex: It's divided into subareas that control different functions of our body such as the perception of our senses (sight, touch, taste, hearing and smell) the ability to think clearly, planning or solving a problem. When drugs are taken, these functions will be altered stopping it from being in a "normal" state, i.e. they directly affect the area of the brain that is responsible for managing these functions.
  • Limbic system: It's responsible for regulating our ability to experience pleasure. This part of the brain is activated by stimuli such as food, sex or sport and also with drugs. But besides this, this part of the brain is also responsible for regulating emotions, for this reason it is customary for a person on drugs to have mood swings which can vary from angry, sad, extremely happy, and so on.
How do drugs affect the brain - Parts of the brain affected by drugs

Long-term effects of drug use

As you might imagine, with prolonged consumption of these substances that directly affects it, the brain, which is in charge of our functions in the world, prematurely deteriorates. But also, if a person is accustomed to taking drugs regularly, their mood will also be altered because, as discussed above, the drug use is directly related to experiencing pleasure, so if we stop taking it we can stop feeling normal as the brain has become accustomed to stimuli such as those caused by chemical drugs.

Therefore, a regular user will experience an inability to feel pleasure practices and enjoy life like they were previously able to. They will feel depressed and only find fun and wellbeing when on drugs, that a chemical reaction in the brain so to return to normal functioning it is advisable to stop taking drugs to restore the brain before it is completely damaged.

Another problem that drug addicts find, increasingly, is that every time they require a greater amount of drug to experience the same effects. This is because the body becomes tolerant to the symptoms of narcotic drugs and get used to the external injection. This is also one of the reasons why drugs become addictive and people increasingly need to experience pleasure and when your body wants more, it is because it has become accustomed to them so it can be difficult to feel comfortable with life when not taking drugs. The solution to this is to completely stop drug use to repair the brain and to regain standard vital signs.

If you think someone close to you may be suffering from drug addiction it is important to try and take them to a specialist to try to quit.

How do drugs affect the brain - Long-term effects of drug use

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How do drugs affect the brain, we recommend you visit our Mental health category.

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