The effects of drugs take a toll on the brain, warping a person’s wants, needs and perceptions over time. With frequent or chronic drug use, a person’s character and personality undergo drastic changes that inevitably impact his or her outlook on the world.
The phrase “not being able to see the forest for the trees” does a good job at depicting the type of world addiction creates within the mind of the addict. Addiction, in any form, has more to do with the way the brain thinks than the actual physical effects of a drug.
These changes lie at the root of the confusion a person may feel in terms of needing that next “fix” versus wanting to get addiction treatment help. Understanding how addiction takes over the mind’s ability to make sound decisions is half the battle when coming to terms with an addiction problem.
Drug Abuse Effects
Addictive drugs produce psychoactive effects, disrupting the brain’s normal chemical processes. According to the University of Utah Health Sciences, this ability to redirect normal chemical activities accounts for the abuse and addiction potential that comes with drug alcohol abuse.
Not only do these substances reroute the brain’s chemical pathways, but also cause widespread damage to the cells that produce essential neurotransmitter chemicals. Over time, these effects create an unstable chemical environment in the brain that grows increasingly dependent on drugs to function normally.
The Addiction-Based Mindset
Much of the time spent in addiction treatment entails undoing the addiction-based mindset that results from chronic drug abuse. In effect, addiction takes hold once the brain’s cognitive and emotional centers fall under the influence of a drug’s effects.
These changes take place within the brain’s reward center, an area that coordinates learning and behavior based on “perceived” positive experiences in a person’s daily life. In essence, once brain chemical imbalances reach a certain point, the brain’s reward system functions become dependent on a drug’s effects much like the body does.
As badly as a person may want to stop using drugs, addiction’s effects have, for the most part, reconfigured a person’s priorities, needs and motivations. Someone struggling with addiction has reached a point where the mind believes it needs the drug to deal with everyday life.
From an addiction-based perspective, drugs become essential to a person’s daily survival, holding the same level of priority as food and water, according to Indiana University at Bloomington. Not surprisingly, this type of mindset creates its own lifestyle made up of certain habits, routines and behaviors much like any other type of lifestyle. Ultimately, any desire to get well will contend with the months or years of conditioning that the addiction lifestyle breeds.
Deciding to Get Addiction Treatment Help
The decision to get needed addiction treatment help often comes with much confusion and emotional turmoil simply because of what’s at stake in terms of how the mind relies on drugs to survive. In effect, nothing “logical” will make sense to you as long as the drug’s effects prevail.
Addiction treatment programs enable you to understand how drug abuse creates a never-ending cycle of dependency. From there, addiction treatment equips you with the tools and coping strategies needed to build a drug-free lifestyle.
If you or someone you know struggles with drug addiction and have questions about available addiction treatment options in your area, please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free helpline at 800-654-0987 to speak with one of our addictions counselors.