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What Happens to Your Brain When Addictive Drugs Are Abused

Using addictive drugs always carries certain health risks with it. Abusing them magnifies those risks. While your entire body can be impacted by the adverse effects of anything addictive, your brain is more susceptible to damage and influence than most other parts of your body.

What Happens to Your Brain When Addictive Drugs Are Abused

Neurotransmitters Change

Drugs make your body feel good, but they don’t always do it directly. Many of them trigger your brain to release its own neurotransmitters that result in high feelings of pleasure. These might include dopamine, GABA, norepinephrine, and serotonin. As you get used to higher levels of these, you need more to still feel good. Your brain struggles to keep up.

Bad Judgment

One thing that generally distinguishes adults from children is their ability to use good judgment and conduct themselves in daily life safely. That’s why teens have to wait until later in their years to start driving, even though some younger teens are physically capable of it. People suffering from addiction tend to exhibit bad judgment in many things they do in their normal daily lives.

Impaired Memory

When you’re an addict, all you care about is your next high. Your brain simply won’t have the attention span or energy to do anything else, including remembering things.

Reduced Ability to Learn

Learning is always necessary for life. It’s often thought of as something that the young need to do, but even adults have to pick up new skills as they age and the world changes. Anyone suffering from addictive drug abuse is hurting their brain to the point that they might not be able to keep up.

Poor Decision-Making

Similar but not the same as bad judgment, decision-making is also impacted by addictive drug abuse in someone’s brain. Bad judgment can be as simple as thinking they have enough time to get through a stoplight before it turns red, but actually choosing to run it and try it is a decision. When both judgments of a situation and the decision about what to do in it are bad, then the results can be disastrous.

Key Takeaways

When you abuse addictive drugs, the impact on your brain can include:

  1. Unhealthy neurotransmitter production
  2. Bad judgment
  3. Impaired memory
  4. Reduced ability to learn
  5. Poor decision-making

Even though it only weighs an average of 3 pounds, the human brain is very important to your health. If you or anyone you know struggles with drug abuse, consider a drug detox to help them get their life straight.

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